“Unlocking Doors”

If we have an ounce of understanding, an iota of conscience, if we’re honest with ourselves, and with God, don’t we long for something more? Something better than what we see around us now, within the church, and within the world? Don’t we? Don’t we all long for something more? Something better? Do we see the possibilities? Do we see the potential? Do we see the opportunities? What’s come before—any new life, any renewals that’ve happened, which will most certainly happen again, don’t happen because of us, and our own inner strength or determination—they happen because of God and God’s love. They happen because Jesus Christ has been raised, and is still risen; because He’s been able to burst out of a sealed tomb, and to enter into locked rooms, and locked hearts, and fill those who need Him. The good feelings of Easter Sunday may be weeks in the past. All of the issues, and demands of daily life may’ve returned in full force, and with a vengeance; but the good news is that the reality of Easter, the reality that is the Risen Christ, is still with us! God—Emmanuel—is still with us! He has not forsaken us. And He never will.

First Scripture Reading: Revelation 1:4-8

John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and freed us from our sins by his blood, and made us to be a kingdom, priests serving his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. Look! He is coming with the clouds; every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and on his account all the tribes of the earth will wail. So it is to be. Amen. “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.

Gospel Reading: John 20:19-21

19 When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” 22 When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

24 But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”

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.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.” 30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. 31 But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.