Thursday 4 April 2024

Like a Child

There should have been children in the Easter story. Even one child could have made a difference. Instead of being full of adults who didn’t believe - one, in particular, we call a doubter - what if there were even one child who did? It might go like this …

Before the women, before the disciples, little Thomas was at the tomb that first Easter morning. He’d probably ran there, maybe even skipped, laughing and singing. When he got there, he looked for Jesus. I know he’s here, he thought, I’m certain of it.

Thomas chatted with the angel who rolled the stone away and scared off the soldiers guarding the tomb, as if conversations with angels were an everyday thing.  (They are.) And when the women arrived, he wondered why they were still sad.

“I was certain you’d be happy today,” he said. They told him that they’re sad because Jesus is dead and he laughed and said “no, he’s not.” They looked at Thomas a little strangely. They scolded him for being silly. “But he said he’d be alive, I’m certain of it,” Thomas said.

They began to scold him again, but then they noticed the stone rolled away from the door. And they saw the angel. And the angel told them, “he’s not here; he’s alive, just as he said.” The angel told them to go and tell the disciples and they headed off, happy and still a little scared because, wow, an angel told them and that doesn’t happen every day.

Maybe not to adults, thought Thomas, who was a little irritated for moment. “You didn’t believe me, but you believed an angel,” he called after them. Oh well, I guess you didn’t believe Jesus, either, he thought to himself. He said he’d be back.

Then the women saw Jesus and they ran and fell down at his feet and were so glad to see him they cried and laughed and didn’t know what to say. And Thomas said, “oh there you are Jesus, I knew you’d be here somewhere,” and he gave Jesus a hug. Jesus smiled at Thomas and then he said to the women, “don’t be afraid; go and tell my friends I’ll see them in Galilee.” 

When the women left, Thomas flopped down next to Jesus and said “I’m glad you’re back, Jesus. I mean, I knew you would be ‘cause you said so, but that business last week was nasty. I could tell they were hurting you. You okay? Why’d you have to do all that?”

“Well,” said Jesus, “it’s like this. I just want people to come back to God, to be close to God. People are going to think about my death a lot and they’re going to think different things about it and they’re going to come up with reasons for it. And that’s okay. Mostly. But I’d ike them to remember my life. See, when folks get older, they start to have trouble believing things. The more life they live, the more they start to think things are complicated and they need proof before they’ll do something. They need to see something to believe it.”

“No kidding,” Thomas said. “My mom always checks to make sure I’ve washed up before bed, even when I tell her I have. She doesn’t believe me. So I always say ‘I told you so.’”

Jesus smiled and chuckled. He said,  “I was hoping that if I showed people how to love and care for each other, they’d see that and want to live that way too. And then they’d be able to see all the good that’s already in each of us. They’d see that God really is here, right inside us. We just don’t always make the right choices to see God and share God with each other.”

“But I believed you, Jesus,” Thomas said earnestly.

“Some people find it easier to believe than others,” said Jesus. “I don’t know why, they just seem more open …  Like a kid.” He smiled and hugged Thomas. “Like I always tell people, you need to come at it like a kid. It’s simple.”

“But why did you need to be hurt,” asked Thomas. “Why did you need to die and then be alive again?”

Jesus sighed. “Well. Because I’m alive again, just for a short time, I get to say I told you so.”

“What?” said Thomas. “My mom says that’s not helpful when I say it.”

Jesus laughed. “No,” he said, “I mean really, truly. I’ve tried so hard to show people how God is alive in them, just like God is alive in me, and always will be. That’s what my life’s been about. Love, grace, kindness, the good that’s at the heart of all living things, that’s God. That’s the life that’s in all of us. This is my chance to say see, I told you. Now go and tell everyone. We have to share the good news, Thomas, we have to share the life, because I’m not going to be here long. I have to go and be with God.”

“But you’re alive again … ” began Thomas.

“It’s okay, Thomas,” said Jesus. “We only get to be here for as long as we need to be, and I’ve done what I need to. Now, my life is a part of you, that means I’m alive in you, and when you share me with others, I’m alive in them, too. We’re all a part of each other, just as God is.You have lots to do, yet, Thomas, believe me.”

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