April 18, 2004

John 20:19-31

Later on that [resurrection] day, the disciples had gathered together, but, fearful of the Jews, had locked all the doors in the house. Jesus entered, stood among them, and said, "Peace to you." Then he showed them his hands and side.

The disciples, seeing the Master with their own eyes, were exuberant. Jesus repeated his greeting: "Peace to you. Just as the Father sent me, I send you."

They he took a deep breath and breathed into them. "Receive the Holy Spirit," he said. "If you forgive someone's sins, they're gone for good. If you don't forgive sins, what are you going to do with them?"

But Thomas, sometimes called the Twin, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples told him, "We saw the Master."

But he said, "Unless I see the nail holes in his hands, put my finger in the nail holes, and stick my hand in his side, I won't believe it."

Eight days later, his disciples were again in the room. This time Thomas was with them. Jesus came through the locked doors, stood among them, and said, "Peace to you."

Then he focused his attention on Thomas. "Take your finger and examine my hands. Take your hand and stick it in my side. Don't be unbelieving. Believe."

Thomas said, "My Master! My God!"

Jesus said, "So, you believe because you've seen with your own eyes. Even better blessings are in store for those who believe without seeing."

Jesus provided far more God-revealing signs than are written down in this book. These are written down so you will believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and in the act of believing, have real and eternal life in the way he personally revealed it.

[The Message ]

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1. Amazing Peace. How often it needs repeating. How often it slides away from us. How often fear is resurrected, eclipsing resurrection peace. A part of the question before us is what it takes to move us from resurrected fear to resurrected peace.

2. One response to such a question is forgiveness applied willy-nilly. As often as breath is drawn and returned, so often is peace to flow. Living water is moving water. Living forgiveness is moving breath.

I fear. Breathe. I am forgiven.
I am forgiven. Breathe. I am forgiven again and again.

May you practice this with your breathing. Breathe in and contemplate the word "for" and all that is for you. Breathe out and contemplate the word "giving" and all that you would give. In and out, for---giving, for--giving, for-giving, forgiving.

3. Another response is revelation that changes belief patterns. Our interpretation of the world around us is not easy. This is particularly true when we consider optical and other sensory illusions. What are we to make of what we touch? Smell? Taste? Hear? Our belief or expectations shape our experience as well as the other way around.

Can you believe peace in the midst of fear? Can you bring the past into the present? Can you move ahead in an entirely different set of circumstance, including that of being set to the task of interpreting new life preemptively, before it is altogether touched or realized? Yes, you can.

So, Amazing Peace, how sweet the sound that freed a fearer like me. I once was stuck but now am freed, needed proof but no more. Amazing Peace...

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