Well, this is our fifth Sunday of virtual church, livestreaming our service first from the sanctuary, and for three weeks now from our dining room.
As we enter our sixth week of staying at home I wonder – how are you doing? Are you in a routine that feels fairly normal now? Or are you getting antsy?
Are you contemplating a do-it-yourself hair cut? Do you find yourself getting excited about taking out the trash? Is your dog hiding its leash so it doesn’t have to go on anymore walks?
All kidding aside, I do wonder how you’re doing. For me, this week was harder than others. I think that’s because the novelty has worn off.
We’ve figured out new ways to do things. We’ve made the switch to Zoom meetings, and livestreamed worship. We’ve pumped ourselves up for Holy Week and Easter services.
And then last Monday morning I woke up and it really hit me that we’re here for the long haul. The novelty has worn off; the adrenaline is gone. This is it. And if we’re smart, this is going to be it for a while.
Friends I’ve talked to in the last week have said the same thing.
And my clergy friends have said it with a bit of guilt. Because last Sunday we joyfully proclaimed the good news of the resurrection.
It doesn’t seem right to wake up the next morning feeling down and dejected. It’s Easter. We’re supposed to be happy.
As has been the case every Sunday since this pandemic began, our scripture readings for the day speak to where we are.
In today’s gospel reading it is the very evening of the resurrection.
So are the disciples rejoicing, dancing in the streets, spreading the good news?
No. They are at home, huddled behind locked doors, afraid of what will happen if they go out.
It sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
And then into that locked room appears Jesus. No locked doors, no closed windows, no amount of fear can keep him out.
Suddenly he is there, wishing them peace, and showing them the places where nails had been hammered through his hands, and a sword had pierced his side, to prove that it was really him.
And scripture says, the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
Fast forward another week, the first Sunday after the resurrection, where we are today.
The disciples have not just heard the resurrection proclaimed by women who arrived a week ago at an empty tomb. They have actually seen it with their own eyes.
So what are they doing? They’re back in that fearful room again, with the doors and windows bolted shut.
At least they are sharing the good news with Thomas, one of their own who was not there the previous week. But Thomas isn’t having it.
“Unless I put my fingers in the marks of the nails in his hand, and my hand in his side, I will not believe,” he says.
And then, like something out of Harry Potter, Jesus is there again in that bolted closed room. He holds out his hands to Thomas and invites his friend to see and touch his hands and side.
The wounds prove to Thomas that the risen Jesus is real.
I hear this story a little differently this year.
What it tells me today is that it’s okay to rejoice in the resurrection and still be cautious about the world outside our doors.
It’s okay to shout alleluia and still be disappointed about missed graduations, celebrations, and trips.
It’s okay to believe in the events of Easter with all your heart and still be worried about losing your job in the midst of a pandemic.
What the risen Jesus shows us with his wounded hands and sides is that Easter does not take away sadness and disappointment, fear and anxiety, illness and death.
What this story tells us is that Jesus comes to us in our woundedness, breaking through whatever doors or barriers we are hiding behind, bidding us peace and showing us his own scars.
The Christ with us is forever our Savior with open wounds – open for Thomas to see and touch, and open for us.
The risen Christ remains unhealed so that we may be healed. He bears our wounds so that we can bear one another’s.