“A Blessing For Those in Exile”
Greetings to each of you! Jenney and I keep saying to each other “these are such strange days.” Strange doesn’t quite capture it, but it’s close. “Exile” is another word I’ve used often. Because we are in exile from so many things. We are in exile from our wonderful worship spaces and more importantly: we are in exile from each other.
Thank goodness for that pictorial directory that I can look at and remind myself what folk look like! If you need a copy, let us know. Will Mathews can get it in the mail to you.
Well, I think we are in need of a blessing, don’t you?
I’ve enjoyed reading the blessing that Jesus gives in the Gospel of John. In the twentieth chapter, a great deal of dramatic events in the life of Jesus and the early church occur. Jesus is raised from the dead and he appears to a group of disciples that very evening. The disciple named Thomas missed out on that first meeting. So he shows up at the same house a week later, on the “Lord’s Day” which we call Sunday.
Yes, Thomas shows up…and so does Jesus! Thomas was the one who wouldn’t believe unless he could “see” and “touch.” He was a very tangible oriented skeptic. When Jesus shows up, however, all of Thomas’ big sounding objections fade away. He is left with the highest of faith claims: My Lord and My God!
And here is where the blessing comes. Jesus says, ““Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.” (John 20:29).
Now, who is that blessing for? I asked that of the Wednesday morning Bible study group that meets on Zoom. Theresai Manley said, “it’s for us.” She was right. It is for us. And for every human being who has never seen the physical body of Jesus. Most of us are not so fortunate to get our own “burning bush” moment: an encounter with the physical Easter Jesus. But all of us are invited into Jesus’ blessing.
That word in Greek means “deeply happy, deeply fortunate.” Blessed. I find it the perfect blessing for our time in exile from each other and our worship spaces. We cannot see each other or touch one another. We are like Thomas, hungry for the tangible. And yet, in this time of bodiless existence, we are invited to nonetheless believe. May you partake of the blessing. Know of the joy I’ll have when we see one another face to face soon.