John 20:26-27

26 A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them.

Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said,

‘Peace be with you.’ 

27 Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here and see my hands.

Reach out your hand and put it in my side.

Do not doubt but believe.’

Wish granted!  Thomas has waited.  Thomas has witnessed the risen Christ.  A week later, still behind locked doors, the followers gather but this time Thomas is present.  Jesus came.  This time Thomas is the focus.  Very much like the first visit, Jesus first tells everyone to calm down.  He breathes peace.  For Thomas that means that all the doubt and regret, all the rebellion against his friends and saying he would not believe “until,” disappears. Perhaps it was like that breathing exercise to deal with stress. We are told  to sit in a chair, hands on knees, relax and… “breath out” whatever stresses and “breath in” peace, or love, or calm.  It is scientifically shown that doing this breathing exercise is good for our health.  Jesus first has his followers relax.

         Again they are told to touch and feel.  As we relax we can more accurately enter the experience that has us stressed out.  Touch and feel is like focusing on the details.  But interestingly Jesus continues on to say, “do not doubt but believe.”  Jesus juxtaposes doubt with belief or faith.  So my question today is to ponder what Jesus wanted Thomas and us to believe.  What doubts are we to release to Jesus and what are we called to believe about our challenges today?

      Most obviously I am called to believe that Jesus is alive and working in the circumstances that confront me.  I may not be in Ukraine, in the hospital, at the bank but I believe Jesus is.  In the midst of whatever trauma is facing me, Jesus is alive and actually present whether I see him or not.  I do not see that Thomas was commanded to believe that Jesus would eliminate the challenge, the potential danger, or the implications for the future.

         As we sit this morning let us practice our breathing.  Breath out the concerns of your heart and breathe in…Thank you Lord, for your presence.  Thank you Lord, for your love.  Thank you Lord, that you are working for good for me and my loved ones.  I believe, help my unbelief!  Blessings.

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