Acts 5:27-32 • Psalm 118:14-29 or Psalm 150 • Revelation 1:4-8 • John 20:19-31
I guess most of us dislike both too much togetherness and also the feeling of being left out. In today's reading, Thomas had purposefully left the disciples for a short while. Possibly he was somewhere managing some responsibility for the group, finding food or lodging as they continued to hide from the Romans. Possibly he had just grown tired of their being together, hiding in fear and despair, and wanted some time away. For whatever reason, he missed Jesus' first post-resurrection appearance to the disciples. When Thomas returns to the others, he is skeptical of their wild tale of seeing Jesus and having none of it. Possibly he thought that the sense of despair was getting to everyone's ability to think rationally, and that they should each go take a walk. Later, Jesus makes what seems to be an extra appearance specifically designed to include Thomas.
In both trips, Jesus brings a message of peace to the group. During times of anxiety, a group's ability to remain at peace is reduced. If people can remember to stay calm, the capacity for a group to manage different ideas – he is risen, for example – is increased. The capacity for individuals to stay calm without having to agree allows everyone more freedom to think clearly. It allows one to welcome the outsider, the one left out, the one with a different view. It allows one to have a different view without having to leave the group to maintain the idea or having to insist that others agree. Peace begins through individuals, families, and other groups who can accept differences while remaining together, who welcome the one who has been left out.
This week's reflection:
John 20:21 Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you."
Morning reflection: How can I present my own views without insisting that others agree or caving to pressure to agree with others?
Evening reflection: Where in my day did I seek or find peace?