the second sunday of easter
the PRAYER. . .
O God of life, you reach out to us amid our fears with the wounded hands of your risen Son. By your Spirit’s breath revive our faith in your mercy, and strengthen us to be the body of your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
the READING. . .
But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came.
the DEVOTION. . .
Here in America, it’s all about choices. It’s that freewill we’re always talking about. And here in the church, it’s no different. Freewill’s the key that closes one door and opens another. It’s the switch that turns off hell and turns on heaven. Receiving Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior. Inviting him into our hearts. So, we figure, when it doesn’t happen, it must be about choices, as well. Choosing not to believe! Choosing not to receive! Not to invite! Freewill, though, is highly overrated. Sure, it’s important when we decide what to eat for breakfast or choose what clothes to wear. But for the really big things – like being loved – freewill doesn’t get us very far.
This week, the disciples are together. Locked in a room. Afraid. Jesus comes and stands among them. Shows his hands, his side. Breathes on them. And only then do they believe! Not by their own reason, or by their own strength, but because Jesus came and showed and breathed! And Thomas? Well, Thomas doesn’t believe, not because he opts not to! He doesn’t believe, simply, because he wasn’t there! But the next week, Jesus returns. And Thomas sees. And because he sees, he, too, believes. Again, not because he chooses. Not because he decides. He believes, just, because Jesus coming to him makes all the difference! Faith’s not a choice. Being saved isn’t a consequence. It’s a gift! It’s all a gift! A gift Jesus alone gives!
Bob Barndt, pastor