Worship at Home This Week
by Rev. Annie Melick
                                             (from Feasting on the Word, Volume B)

SCRIPTURE: John 20:19-31
19 When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” 22 When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”
24 But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”
26 A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”
30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. 31 But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah,[c]the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.

It all happened on Sunday. It was on “the first day of the week” (John 20:19)—the same day Jesus rose from the dead (John 20:1)—when the risen Lord appeared to a group of disciples in a locked house and offered them the gift of the Holy Spirit. Then, one week later (John 20:26), Jesus came again to the disciples (still shut inside the house), this time allowing Thomas to see and touch his hands and side. Think about the place where you gather for worship on Sunday. Is it open to the surprising presence of Christ and the liberating gifts of the Spirit? (If not, does the Spirit still move? Does Jesus show up anyway?) Are there times when your questions and doubts grow deeper? Are there times when your faith is strengthened and renewed?

PRAYER: God of light, I praise you
for the gift of this new day.
By the power of your Spirit
enable me to live in your light
and seek the holy fellowship
of Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen.