Behind Closed Doors

The disciples were afraid. That their own leaders would betray them. They had a common enemy- the occupying Roman government- but different ideas about how to survive. Or thrive. Or be faithful. They were a people divided. All living in fear of the same threat. 

But danger affects people differently, depending on access to resources. Some are much better situated to fortify their position. Wait and hope for the threat to recede. Others are more vulnerable. The disciples isolated themselves. Locked the door. For fear.

Our country is divided. We also fear, and know, betrayal by our leaders. We face a common threat, but it affects us disproportionately. 

We stay inside. Hoping that closed doors will keep us safe from the danger of our own people. We must assume that each of us is infected. Our friends, neighbors, authorities. The stranger from whom we step further away. 

In the disciples’ isolation, something unexpected happened. And, I suspect, we too are glimpsing something unexpected. The need for change. And how we are being changed by our experience.

Jesus came and stood among them. He said, “Peace be with you.” John 20:19b (CEB)

A message from someone who was killed by the enemy. How can he speak peace? The world has not become less dangerous. The threat outside remains. But Jesus returns from death to tell us that he was not forsaken by his God. And neither are we. We are not really alone. God with us. Jesus unhindered by our closed doors. 

Jesus, stand among us
At the breaking of the bread;

We are not together to sing. Or take communion. There is no gathering, no meeting of our eyes. Except via phone and computer screens. Or at a distance, protected by masks. We are each in our own homes, our own fears. Danger within and without. Needing Jesus to appear and stand among us.

Join our hearts in unity and take away our fear.

Unity is elusive. Perhaps, as a people, impossible. Our understanding and approach to this common threat (that affects us so differently!) varies widely. But maybe, as we each are isolated in our homes, Jesus might come to us too. And commission us. To be instruments of peace.

Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father sent me, so I am sending you.” Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” John 20:21-22 (CEB)

As we are behind closed doors, may Jesus come and stand among us. May we hear the words of peace he brings. That our hearts may be unified, our fears released. May he breathe on us anew, that we may receive the Holy Spirit. And then, when the time is right, be sent out into the world. To bring good news. 

Easter Service: Together in Hope
Order of Service 4/12
Bulletin 4/12

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