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My Lord and My God

Today is celebrated as the feast day of Thomas, he of doubting fame.  So several lockdown weeks after Easter, we find ourselves back in the upper room and remembering Thomas, who thought he had missed out, missed meeting Jesus, missed seeing what God had done, missed his opportunity to know God and believe. (Created for our Circuit Daily Devotions – click on the link or here if you want to hear me croak my way through it!)

Caravaggio_Doubting_Thomas

John 20:24-29

Jesus and Thomas

24 Although Thomas the Twin was one of the twelve disciples, he wasn’t with the others when Jesus appeared to them. 25 So they told him, “We have seen the Lord!”

But Thomas said, “First, I must see the nail scars in his hands and touch them with my finger. I must put my hand where the spear went into his side. I won’t believe unless I do this!”

26 A week later the disciples were together again. This time, Thomas was with them. Jesus came in while the doors were still locked and stood in the middle of the group. He greeted his disciples 27 and said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and look at my hands! Put your hand into my side. Stop doubting and have faith!”

28 Thomas replied, “You are my Lord and my God!”

29 Jesus said, “Thomas, do you have faith because you have seen me? The people who have faith in me without seeing me are the ones who are really blessed!”

They were all so excited,
they had seen Jesus
actually been in his presence
seen the scars,
yet also him walking and talking,
heard his voice
sending
and equipping.

And I missed it.

I wasn’t there
when Jesus came to all the rest
I missed that precious experience
of seeing,
hearing
and touching Jesus
again.

I hear of what you do and say
but haven’t know it for myself.

How can I know it was true?
How can I feel it in my soul?
How can I believe,
when I haven’t seen,
experienced,
touched
for myself?
How can I know?

I just can’t grasp it.

You tell me he’s alive,
that you’ve seen him,
but that’s not working
for me.

I saw him die,
I know he’s dead.
Your experience says different,
but I’m just not getting it.

I need to know,
I need to see,
to touch
and be touched.

Some how that seems weak,
my faith dependent on seeing
not believing,
but that’s what I need.

~~~

Oh how you know me Lord,
you know what I need
and you supply.

You allow me to see,
to touch,
to know.

How I wish I had the faith
to just believe,
but now
in reaching out
and touching
I know.

I believe.

You are alive

and you come to me
where I am,
how I am,
knowing what I my need
and meeting it.

You invite me to reach out
to you.

And so
I come to you.

Thank you Lord,
for your presence,
your risen presence.

Thank you for not
writing me off,
but coming to me.

Thank you
that you are there,
whether I feel
I can reach you
or not,
ever present,
in my life,
in your world.

Thank you for meeting me
when I find it hard to believe
or easy;
when I think I have missed out
or have been there for it all;
whether I have missed other opportunities to know you
or am taking this my first
– today Lord,
I see you,
feel you,
touch your presence
and I believe.

May I know that today,
however,
wherever I am.

Help me to believe.

You are My Lord
and My God.

 

We pray for those who are seeking,
searching,
longing:

Lord
as we long to see you
may we find you.
may we know your presence
and reality
in our lives.

If we feel that we have missed out
before today
May today be the day
when we meet you
and encounter you,
when we touch you,
when you invite us
to touch you
and to know you.

Bless us Lord
each one of us where we are
that we may believe
and know

 

 

 

The Saturday of Holy Week – Holy Saturday

Brooklyn_Museum_-_Jesus_Carried_to_the_Tomb_(Jésus_porté_au_tombeau)_-_James_Tissot

Matthew 27:57-61 (GNT)

The Burial of Jesus

57 When it was evening, a rich man from Arimathea arrived; his name was Joseph, and he also was a disciple of Jesus. 58 He went into the presence of Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Pilate gave orders for the body to be given to Joseph. 59 So Joseph took it, wrapped it in a new linen sheet, 60 and placed it in his own tomb, which he had just recently dug out of solid rock. Then he rolled a large stone across the entrance to the tomb and went away. 61 Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting there, facing the tomb.

Gone, But Not Forgotten

I wanted to do this for him,
it was something I could do,
possibly the last thing.

He meant something to me.

Now was the time to come out of the shadows,
be bold,
make a stand
and do what I can.

What do I have to offer to Jesus now,
but my tomb,
my place of death?

After all,
he gave his death
for mine.

We prepared his body,
laid it to rest.

Watching and Waiting

And now we wait
for what next,
in our pain,
our questions,
our anger,
our frustration.

What next Lord?

You have brought us on this journey,
now we are left here.

Where now?
What now?
How now?

What do I have to offer you?

What can I give?

What place do I have
where you can rest?

What can I do?

Where will we go?

What now,

in you,

for you

Lord?

Holy Saturday. A day of waiting and wondering. A feeling of hopelessness, despair, a time of questioning and hopelessness, when things haven’t panned out as expected. A day of sitting with the pain, not knowing.

The days we all have. The kind of time we’re living through at the moment, when all seems disturbed, unusual heartbreaking and frightening.

A day for acknowledging the frustration and fear. Knowing that God sits with us in the pain and anguish and shares those feelings. There will be these days, they are real – but they are not the end of the story.

The Man and The Woman

Blake Adam and Eve

All was well with the world, the whole wide world.  Beautiful, productive, everything with its place and order.  Everything worked and it worked well.

But then, well, somehow that wasn’t enough.  We thought we knew better than God.  There was only one thing that was forbidden.  But oh how good it looked, and imagine the possibilities.  If it’s not good for us, how delicious it must be, how exciting it is.  Just one go – can’t hurt can it?

SO he said, she said, it said… the thought, the chance – go on, you know you want to.

So we did.

Big mistake.

For then shame entered the world, and beautiful innocence left it.  In having just one bite, so much had been lost.  Hate and fear were born, suffering got a look in, weeds were sown, hard toil began…

What was once so beautiful was now not so beautiful, not so enjoyable – spoilt.

Now what are we going to do?

Lord there is so much I have got wrong
Things I have seen and wanted – and chased after,
bad choices I have made,
things that would have been better not done or said,
words and actions I should have done
but didn’t.

They pile up, and make an ugly mess.
But you are the one who can put things right,
You are the one who can restore me
change me
give me your strength and power.

I confess what I have got wrong
I bring it to you.
Sweep through me I pray
cleanse me,
dust me down.
Remake me
in your image

Genesis 3:8-19

Late in the afternoon a breeze began to blow, and the man and woman heard the Lord God walking in the garden. They were frightened and hid behind some trees.

The Trouble with Sin

The Lord called out to the man and asked, “Where are you?”

10 The man answered, “I was naked, and when I heard you walking through the garden, I was frightened and hid!”

11 “How did you know you were naked?” God asked. “Did you eat any fruit from that tree in the middle of the garden?”

12 “It was the woman you put here with me,” the man said. “She gave me some of the fruit, and I ate it.”

13 The Lord God then asked the woman, “What have you done?”

“The snake tricked me,” she answered. “And I ate some of that fruit.”

14 So the Lord God said to the snake:

“Because of what you have done,
you will be the only animal
    to suffer this curse—
For as long as you live,
you will crawl on your stomach
    and eat dirt.
15 You and this woman
    will hate each other;
your descendants and hers
    will always be enemies.
One of hers will strike you
    on the head,
and you will strike him
    on the heel.”

16 Then the Lord said to the woman,

“You will suffer terribly
    when you give birth.
But you will still desire
your husband,
    and he will rule over you.”

17 The Lord said to the man,

“You listened to your wife
and ate fruit from that tree.
And so, the ground
will be under a curse
because of what you did.
As long as you live,
you will have to struggle
to grow enough food.
18 Your food will be plants,
but the ground
will produce
thorns and thistles.
19 You will have to sweat
to earn a living;
you were made out of soil,
and you will once again
turn into soil.”

Taken from my 2015 book Voices Through Advent and Christmas available from Moorleys