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Easter 2 A John 20: 19-31 One of the most memorable parts of my time in seminary was in a class that I took

on preachin thro! h the seasons of the ch!rch year" #y professor was an eccentric man$ e%en by my stan&ar&s' I remember spen&in se%eral ho!rs each week in his office &isc!ssin how to talk abo!t the ospel$ with two (in )harles *paniels !n&er his &esk an&$ on top of shel%es cramme& with books$ a baseball + his father ha& been a ma,or lea !e player at one time- an& a memento mori.a sk!ll" /e was someone i%en to pro%ocati%e statements$ b!t one has st!ck with me beca!se I belie%e it really may be tr!e$ if only in theory" /e sai& that any act of preachin the ospel on a *!n&ay mornin was a heresy$ an offense a ainst the ch!rch$ beca!se yo! ha& to be able to preach the entire ospel at once$ which co!l&n0t be &one$ at least in a *!n&ay mornin worship ser%ice" In other wor&s$ the people on the other si&e of the p!lpit ha& to hear the entirety of #atthew or John with the preacher as a !i&e an& fellow tra%eler$ not the small bits we !s!ally hear" 1he birth$ the healin s an& miracles$ the passion an& res!rrection$ all of it ha& to be there before we co!l& think we ha& be !n to &o ,!stice to the mysteries we were talkin abo!t" 2!t before yo! think anythin like that will happen here this mornin $ we are here to talk abo!t the fear in that !pper room" It is a real$ physical$ limbic fear$ a back-alley fear of sei3!re an& &eath$ b!t it is also the fear that we feel when we know somethin has transforme& !s an& maybe the whole worl&$ somethin that we co!l& not really !n&erstan& b!t threatene& o!r li%es as we knew them an& e%erythin we ha& taken for rante&" It is into that fear that Jes!s steps this mornin an& his first wor&s are$ 45eace be with yo!6$ not the peace of the worl& that or ani3e& his e7ec!tion b!t the peace of the /oly *pirit$ which he is breathin on his &isciples$ the peace of somethin new enterin their li%es$ chan in them an& maybe chan in !s too" One of them$ howe%er$ is not there" 8hen 1homas arri%es$ he will not accept all this talk abo!t an empty tomb$ abo!t their 9or& stan&in amon them" 9ike them$ he knows the promises of :o&-- beca!se he is at my ri ht han&$ I will not fall' therefore my spirit re,oices an& my bo&y shall rest in hope" /e wants to see this thin for himself$ not stories or parts of stories" It &oes not matter for 1homas$ an& maybe for the rest of !s$ what the others saw or hear& in that !pper room last week" It &oesn0t e%en matter that the other &isciples$ his fellow tra%elers for the past three years$ can tell him abo!t this e7perience$ one as real as the healin of lepers$ chan in water into wine$ m!ltiplyin loa%es" 1homas wants to see the 9or& for himself$ to 4p!t my fin er in the mark of the nails an& my han& in his si&e6" /e wants all of his 9or& before him$ an&$ if yo! are like me$ yo! &o too" It is only after Jes!s appears amon them a ain an& offers the %ery thin he is askin that 1homas makes the most profo!n& statement of faith in the entire ospel: 4#y 9or& an& my :o&;6 1homas0s confession en&orses the %ery be innin of the ospel$ that$ 41he 8or& was with :o& an& the 8or& was :o&6$ that the li%in :o& is re%eale& in the person of Jes!s" I ha%e always ha& a soft spot for 1homas" I became a &eacon on his feast &ay$ an& I &on0t belie%e it was an acci&ent" All of !s or&aine& that &ay were commissione& to o into the worl& to 4pro%e it6$ as the preacher tol& !s$ to pro%e that there was somethin in their li%es beyon& the s!fferin that many of !s saw$ the sleepless ni hts that we knew amon the people we worke& with an& rew to lo%e" O!r cry$ 4#y 9or& an& my :o&6$ was to be the answer to a worl& where peace was a scarce commo&ity$ where people &i&n0t want any more promises" 1hey too wante& to see the whole thin $ whate%er it meant to them$ a real 9or& workin in the %ery real worl& they li%e& in$ sprea&in a news that was not only oo& b!t real an& tan ible instea& of the empty ass!rances they recei%e& each &ay' it was only then that they mi ht sprea& that news themsel%es" I ha%e an icon of 1homas starin back at me from my bookshel%es to remin& me of this ,oy an& responsibility"

2!t there is another reason why I feel a special kinship with 1homas" /e is calle& the 1win in the <ew 1estament$ which is famo!sly silent on who the other twin is$ b!t I belie%e I know who it mi ht be" I think it mi ht be me an&$ if I0m !essin ri ht$ it mi ht be many of yo!$ too" 8e all want to see the real Jes!s$ not a secon&-han& story abo!t him$ an& the only way we can &o it is by lookin into the face of each other an& seein the risen )hrist$ thro! h the work we &o$ the ministries to which we offer o!rsel%es$ b!t most of all what we are willin to be to one another" If 1homas is in&ee& yo!r twin$ as I belie%e he is mine$ then o!r work be ins this mornin an& each &ay forwar& to show this )hrist to the worl&$ a worl& tire& of half-meas!res an& h!n ry to limpse the real Jes!s that we can see e%en ami&st the brokenness an& fear aro!n& !s" #y 9or& an& my :o&" 1o be able to see Jes!s$ the whole Jes!s$ in this way is to be able to see in a &ifferent way$ maybe especially &!rin this Easter season" 1here is plenty of fear in o!r !pper rooms$ fear of ,obs we think may %anish$ fear of what mi ht happen with the people we lo%e" 2!t the Easter messa e is to reco ni3e Jes!s$ all of him$ where%er we o$ in o!r offices$ amon the schoolchil&ren we work with an& the people we ser%e" If we are in&ee& willin to see the risen )hrist in this way$ not only with o!r eyes b!t in o!r hearts$ then we cannot help echoin the faith we see in the &isciples this mornin $ in the wor&s we say$ in the brea& we break$ b!t most importantly in the lo%e we can offer the worl&"