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Devotion - April 17, 2020

John 20:24–31

But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 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.’

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.’ 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.’ Thomas answered him, ‘My Lord and my God!’ 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.’

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. 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. Reflection by Janet Derby When my mother-in-law lived with us and began to develop dementia, I went to a seminar where a woman told about how nursing homes could not keep sugar packets on the dining tables because the residents would take and hoard them. Having grown up in the depression when sugar was a treasured commodity, these people’s long-term memory caused them to feel the need to stash the packets away. Major events in our lives affect the lens through which we look from that point on. It makes me wonder how the “Corona” generation will view the world. There is time when the situation in which we are living seems surreal. To some extent, my life is going on as it always has. Prior to the shelter in place order, I generally worked at home one day a week and looked forward to those days. Doing that every day is no hardship for me. I still have food to cook, though I don’t simply run to the store if something is missing. I am still in contact with friends and family, though more of it is done virtually than it was before. Yet, there are times when it becomes real as I talk to friends and family who are directly affected both economically and in terms of their health.

Our experience of God can be much the same. I was in a prayer group with a woman who regularly said she wished that God would just once “shake her house”. She very much wanted some direct evidence of God’s spirit. That seems to be how Thomas felt. It was wonderful, I’m sure, to hear his friends talk about their experience, but it didn’t seem real to him. I think many of us felt that way when news of Covid first came out. It seemed far away and similar to the flu and other recent pandemics. I certainly can’t blame Thomas for his reaction. I don’t think Jesus is chastising him either. Those who experience God’s presence without God shaking the house are blessed. Prayer:

Holy One, thank you for those who share stories of ways in which they have seen and experienced you. Help us to be with and touch the lives of all who are affected by this pandemic. Amen. On a side note: Don’t you want to know what those “other signs” that Jesus did were and why they were not written in this book?

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