Our houses are reliquaries.
The objects they hold have many shapes, colours and sizes;
some are valuable, and promise much.
We festoon our dwellings with chains and bolts fashioned from fear,
and security cameras, should the locks fail.
We will not be taken advantage of;
we will guard what we have.
Yes, we know these things are all just stuff;
but stuff, nonetheless.
In time it will all be reduced to dust.
Still we take much comfort from our locks.
The disciple is to be prepared, alert;
so the ancient scripture enjoins.
This instructive text was written in those excited early years
when the imminent return of the master
was eagerly anticipated.
Jesus is coming; look busy!
After two millenia the sense of expectancy
has largely evaporated, at least for some of us.
For twenty-first century disciples
the urgent metaphors for faithful living –
being dressed for action and keeping our oil lamps burning –
must have some other purpose.
The previously-dead Jesus meets with Thomas
and invites his sceptical friend
to extend his hand,
to touch his master’s injured hands and side.
This, according to gospel-writer John,
is the incontrovertible proof
that his Lord lives.
We find it less convincing.
Nor do the various reported signs work for us
in quite the same way that they did for the evangelist.
two thousand years ago.
What evidence, then,
might persuade you and I that our master is alive?
The generous acts of his followers? Perhaps.
Loving deeds of disciples? Maybe.
Lives spent courageously for the sake of justice, hope,
and the gospel?
such as these could be sufficient
to satisfy the rest of us sceptics.
For seven weeks the season called Easter
stretches out, long after the eggs
have been divested of their foil
and the chocolate has been consumed.
It persistently recalls the mystery,
as we read, in episodes,
the story of women and men
who met unexpectedly with their risen Lord.
Luke, teller of good news,
offers us a sometimes ghostly,
sometimes fleshly, Jesus;
both of whom lead us to renewed wondering.
We hear, again,
the familiar but unlikely resurrection tales,
and are faced with the same worrisome possibilities
of all past Easters.
The narratives call loudly,
and reach deeply,
as the spirit of Jesus invites us
to take our part in the great ongoing drama.
He challenges us to take courage,
to walk his road of love and forgiveness,
and to carry in our own bodies
the defiant confrontation,
and costly sacrifice
that may yet redeem the world.