A week later

Easter 2A
St Andrew’s Church, Lismore
16 April 2023

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A week has passed.

Last week the churches were abuzz with activity, beautiful flowers, fine music, the best robes, and as many candles as we could find.

A week has passed.

A week ago—as the Gospel of John tells the story—the disciples were surprised (freaked out, one imagines), when the risen Jesus appears in their secret hideaway. Luke tells a very different story about that first Easter night, as we shall hear next weekend. For now, let’s stay with John’s way of telling the story.

A week has passed.

John chooses to tell the story of Easter in intervals that will resonate with his readers, who gathered weekly—as we also still do—for the community meal and other shared business.

A week has passed.

John tells the story as if Jesus was off the radar for the days in between the Sunday gathering. That seems a bit odd. What kind of schedule is Jesus keeping during those first few weeks after Easter?

On Easter night only ten followers are in the room when Jesus appears among them. Thomas is not there, but neither are the women disciples or any of the wider circle. No Mary and Martha? No Lazarus? No Mary Magdalene? Just a small group of confused and frightened guys.

But let’s stay with Thomas for now.

Thomas is not impressed by spooky stories from such a bunch of people.

He wants evidence.

A week has passed.

They are back in that same room. Again? Or perhaps, still? But this time Thomas is with them.


Doubting Thomas has had a tough time during the history of the church.

But he may well be a saint for our time and culture, since we are people who want to see the evidence, and are not going to believe something just because someone else says it is true.

Thomas is portrayed as crippled by doubt, but perhaps he was trying to make sense of something which is way beyond our everyday experience.

Not so much doubting, as seeking to integrate this mind-boggling new reality.

Perhaps it is often the same for us?

Are we doubting, or just asking questions to seek a better understanding of something that changes everything?

We often overlook this point, but in Matthew 28 even when the 11 disciples (again, just the inner group of blokes) meet Jesus atop a mountain in Galilee, the text says: “When they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted.” (v 18)

Even then, some still doubted.

It was not just Thomas.

I like to think they were “processing” information that was going to turn their lives upside down.







Perhaps we have stopped asking questions?

Perhaps we have settled for the safe answers fashioned by someone else?

Perhaps our lives are no longer turned upside down by the Eastering process I mentioned last week.

But perhaps living with unanswered questions is a key element of Eastering.

Questions and doubts may be essential for the Eastering that God seeks to do in us.

The 100 days @ half time

Last Sunday we reached the midpoint of the 100 days (or so, 97 to be exact) from Ash Wednesday to Pentecost. We are now in the Great 50 Days of Easter, which will culminate on Pentecost Sunday; 50 days after Easter.

During the 100 days we have been encouraged to reflect on how the events we celebrate throughout this double holy period change everything for us.

These are days for questions, for doubts, for insights and for new resolutions.

During the days of LENT we often give up something as a spiritual discipline.

During the 50 DAYS OF EASTER perhaps we might instead think of something to add as a spiritual discipline.

To determine what we might best embrace as a new spiritual practice, we need to be asking questions about how Easter changes everything, what that looks like in our own lives, and inviting God to start eastering us; as individuals and as a church.

Don’t avoid those questions or suppress those doubts; they could well be the points where fresh eastering can occur.

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