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“The seeds that fell among the thorns are those that hear, but as they go on their way, they are choked by the worries, riches and pleasures of this life and their fruit does not mature. ” Luke 8:14

“Therefore, if you have been raised with the Messiah, keep focusing on the things that are above, where the Messiah is seated at the Right Hand of God”. Colossians 3:1

“I am the vine, you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit, apart from Me, you can do nothing”. John 15:5

I really enjoy being outside. I feel such a sense of God’s creation when I’m able to be outside, enjoying nature. I also like to take the Word outside and read it. And, living in coastal Virginia, part of God’s creation that occupies the outdoor space with me is the ever present mosquito, at least in the warmer parts of the year. So this morning, Bible in hand, I went out with my trusty dog and sat down to read the morning scriptures. Hardly had I time to crack open the pages of my Bible when I was pounced upon by the buzzing, darting hoard (welllll more like 3 or 4 but they’re mosquitoes dad gone it!) Of course, I immediately put my Bible down and went to swinging and swatting at this pesky nuisance.

Just then, the Spirit enlightened me ( and no not in a more efficient way to rid myself of the scourge). I had a plan to focus on Jesus Christ. I was going to read scripture and then pray. I was shown how little it takes, how easily I allow myself to lose focus on that extremely vital goal, to be utterly distracted by the trivial. Especially for me as mosquitoes; while buzzing around me, don’t tend to land and bite often and when they do, they don’t itch (please don’t hate me if you’re a mosquito magnet who gets crazy itchy).

So let’s leave the specifics of the mosquitoes and look to the broader lesson. Jesus Christ is very clear; we are to stay focused on the Heavenly Father and His word, that’s where the treasure and blessings to this life are. Yet we must understand, there is an enemy with the world at his disposal who will stop at nothing to distract us from, to turn our focus away from God. Especially the enemy attacks when our intention is to be uniquely focused on God such as when in the study of His word or in prayer. If the enemy can get us to put off the study or the prayer to God, then the enemy feels victorious. Here’s another truth we have to grapple with; in our fallen state, we are all to ready to chase after these distractions, losing our focus on our Heavenly Father by doing so.

What do I mean by distractions? In the Parable of the Sower, Jesus teaches us about them in the third example of the seed; the seed in the thorns. These thorns/distractions can be negative; worries or actual issues with health, finances, relationships, careers, etc. However, the thorns don’t need to be large, overpowering circumstances, they can be as small as a mosquito. The thorns/distractions also don’t have to be negative; a sudden affluence, a promotion, a new relationship, a new property, a healing, any good news, can break our focus from the source of the blessing to the blessing itself.

The enemy doesn’t just have a mind-blowing plethora of choices of distractions to use, but also has the ability to throw them at us constantly, one after another. Can he cause our fears to so overwhelm us that we can see nothing but despair ahead for ever? Can he trick us through worldly plenty to focus on our “good life” having us believe in our pride that we are deserving of it and should focus on the enjoyment of it and gaining even more. There is no need or time to think of anything beyond the greed of gain and the selfishness of using it, especially not prayer or study of the Word.

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ; here’s the point we really have to grasp if we are going to regain the proper focus. It is not about our individual effort. If I’m relying on “I” to have the strength to withstand the onslaught of the enemy; I will fail. But the Good News is, Jesus Christ, nor our Heavenly Father, ever wanted us to try to stand on our own.

Jesus was again very clear when He promised that by returning to the Father, He was going to be able to send the Advocate, the Holy Spirit to come and dwell within us. It is the team of Our Heavenly Father and His plan of salvation, Jesus Christ our Savior who has taken away our sins and the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, making things clear and giving us the strength to withstand the attacks of the enemy that allows us to defeat the enemy.

Thus remember, whether they be mosquitoes or some earthly pleasure; whether large or small, distractions will come. The enemy of this world will not stop trying to get our attention turned from our Heavenly Father. Should we feel tempted to race after that distraction, whatever it may be and wherever it may lead; remember the fact Jesus stated:….”apart from Me you can do nothing”. All that chasing will come to nothing, no matter what the world declares. Pray for strength through the Holy Spirit in the Name of Jesus Christ. Jesus also proclaimed that He has overcome the world and we can take heart and be in peace because of that; for in Him we can overcome as well.

So swat away or not; let us keep our focus on our Heavenly Father, through the sacrifice and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, realizing that the Holy Spirit will clear away all the thorns that are choking out the blessings of God’s word and will be the fertilizer that allows for that amazing crop and harvest that comes from a God focused life.

Our Most Gracious Heavenly Father we realize that this is a world filled with distractions attempting to pull our focus from You. Most Merciful Father we also confess that we are all too often ready, willing and able to jump on those distractions allowing them to take us away. We pray for the insight and the strength of the Holy Spirit, dwelling within us to blunt the power of the enemy to distract us and to keep the focus on You; Heavenly Father. That in being in Your Son Jesus Christ we can bring about the abundant harvest of love, light and blessings that this distracted world is in such need of. That in a God-focused life; we will bring praise to Your Most Holy Name. We pray in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” Matthew 5:17

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind. And the second commandment is like it’ Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37, 39-40

“For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending by sending His own Son in the likeness of the sinful flesh to be a sin offering. Romans 8:3

There are two phrases which seem to capture so much of our thoughts and discourse lately. The first is the aspect that “There should be a law…..”. The second is the statement: “Everything I did was legal”. In and with these two concepts; there seems to lie an idea that the law and legalism can fix and judge most if not everything. Sadly perhaps, that rarely, if ever is the case. Why?

The reason laws, in and of themselves, rarely “fix” the society which instigated them, is that laws are really not designed to do that. Laws are meant to be a reflection of the society which passed them versus a mandated control on that society.

Let’s take discrimination on the aspect of race/ethnicity for example. For most of the history of the United States, the bulk of society felt the separation of races was an appropriate and correct characteristic of society. In fact there were a plethora of laws and court rulings which supported the legal separation of the races. Now contrary to what might be popular belief, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was not the beginning of the change of that belief in the United States. No, although all too slow and painful, the heart of society changed when it came to how different races were to be treated. The heart of the nation saw that separate was not equal. However, societies are not, or least the nation of the United States is not, a unanimous moving entity. Society realized (and realizes) that there will be some who do not agree with the “heart” of society and want to go against its wishes. Therefore, to insure that society can enforce the desires of its heart, it codifies those desires into a or many laws so that those who agree with society as well as those who don’t, understand and can be held accountable to the behavior which is deemed appropriate based on the society’s desires.

Thus what we need to understand is that the passing of a law is neither the beginning, or should not be the end, of bringing about the behavior/culture that the society is seeking. For a law to be effective, there should be a will, a “heart of the matter” which is the foundation for that law, that society has agreed to. Additionally, just because a law is passed, does not mean that society’s efforts are finished. For a law to be successful it needs to be only a part of a larger cultural explanation and education process with brings about the most accurate alignment possible with the largest sections of the society with the foundation of why the law was passed. The larger the majority that believes in the law, the more effective the law will be plus the easier it will be to administer. There’s an additional consideration and that is to those who come new into the society. Here I’m talking about children primarily but can also apply to immigrants. It is more important that children learn the moral aspect, for example, that is it is not appropriate behavior to take something from someone else just because you desire it versus there is a law against stealing and the law is why you don’t do it. We need to teach what is at the heart of the law and not just the legal terms used to define it.

The reason that ideas and issues such as gun control, abortion and climate change, just for a few examples, are so difficult to draft laws around, is that our society has yet to come to an understanding of where society’s “heart” is concerning these matters. Oh yes, it is easy to site a statistical poll that most in the society support this or are against that. However, in most contentious issues, when you get past a percentage number, you find that there is a wide variance of opinion on just what that poll number accurately reflects.

Now let’s briefly take a look at a second part, the legalism part. So, we’ve been able to actually pass a law about something. By its very nature, it will have a statute which specifically defines the nature of the law and what constitutes a failure to uphold the law, as well as penalties. However, no law crafted has ever been so wise and carefully worded to be able to foresee all circumstances which might come into play concerning the law. Thus, a person might bring about great harm to another individual or group; however, the circumstances of the particular incident were not taken into account by some seemingly applicable statute. Therefore, the person states, with accuracy, that they did everything according to the law and therefore what they did was just fine. Going back to the previous paragraph, remember a law is meant to capture the spirit, will and/or desire of a society towards appropriate or inappropriate behavior. That the law can ‘t capture every foreseeable act doesn’t mean that the spirit, will or desire of society has not been breeched. Which means that stating some behavior was “completely legal”, does not additionally mean that behavior was not indeed offensive to society and went against what society had desired for appropriate behavior. It only mean that the writers of the law were not clairvoyant enough to predict every behavior one might attempt to circumvent the heart/will of society.

Why bring this up now dear Sisters and Brothers? Because, we seem more and more to look to human derived fixes, like laws to try and solve our societal ills. There is not evil in society; no, there is only a lack of an appropriate law with which to guide society to a more blissful existence. Paul was very clear as he spoke of the laws of commandments given by God. It’s not a particular law, or lack of a particular law that is the issue, it is in our heart and our desire to follow the law which is the issue.

So it is there we must always start; the heart. How is our heart aligned with the Heart of God which brought about the two greatest commandments? The two greatest commandments on which all other necessary, appropriate laws and teachings are based, are commandments of love; love for the Father and each other. That dear Sisters and Brothers is where our hearts must reside. Are we looking to “laws” that are laws based on the commandments of love? Are we looking for some type of legalese which can relieve ourselves from the process of reflecting on our own behavior and intentions based on appropriate love; allowing us to say “Well I wouldn’t have but the law said to do it,”.

Laws aren’t inherently good or bad but can become so depending upon to what extent we’re willing to reflect on the intent of the law and how connected the individual law is to the Greater Commandments of Love upon which all appropriate laws are based. It is by having the appropriate heart, sharing and teaching that heart to others, that we stand the best chances of having just laws and a society that brings praise to our Heavenly Father.

Our Most Gracious Heavenly Father, we confess that on our own we do not know how to behave. We are thankful, Most Merciful Father, that you have given us commandments by which we can learn what is acceptable behavior. We further confess that even with Your commandments we fall short of Your desires and are thankful that You sent Your Son Jesus Christ to fulfill the commandments, allowing our salvation which we could not do ourselves. Guide us Father when we seek to pass our own laws that they would conform and align with Your commandments of love. Keep us from the temptation Father to create laws in conflict with Your commandments and more in line with worldly desires. That in creating our laws our hearts would be centered on Your Love for us allowing us to live just lives that bring glory and praise to Your Most Holy Name. We pray in the Name of Jesus Christ. Amen

What do we do? How should I respond? Why can’t we or they stop this? Here’s a start. Today, find someone. Actively seek someone who needs an act of kindness AND ACT. That’s what we all can do. We can start to build or strengthen a culture where caring about vs. fighting with becomes the norm. Yes there may be a place for more legislation or more physical protection for locations. BUT DON’T WAIT OR COUNT ON THAT TO HAPPEN. Your and mine act of kindness just may be the connection a disturbed, distraught person needs. Our act of kindness may be the reason a trigger doesn’t get pulled, that a person may see some light in their present world of darkness. Strive to start with one act and build from there. And God will be with you in your attempt. Pray for Uvalde. Pray for Buffalo.

Heavy, trembling sigh. Look around, let your gaze wander. Places, like Ukraine, letter designations next to names like R or D, or a sequence starting with L, ethnicities, genders, rich, poor, gun rights or gun legislation, pro choice or pro life, law enforcement and law breakers and of course I could go on but you get the point. These are all points of difference, differences that can lead to divisions that lead us to what? Please, please understand, when we look to the differences and how we want to respond, feel driven to respond; HATE IS POISON! There is no righteous hate. There is no commandment, this person or that idea, thou must hate. HATE IS A POISON. Hate, like all poisons, destroys. Sometimes, hate is ingested in such levels that it destroys almost immediately. Sometimes, hate is ingested just a little at a time and its destruction takes a significant length of time to do its damage. HATE IS POISON. Hate is a poison that not only destroys the one who ingests it but also so often hugely damaging to those around that person as well. Did Jesus hate the person who betrayed Him? No He washed his feet. Jesus surely hated the Romans who killed Him. No, He healed one of their servants. Jesus must have hated those who falsely accused and had Him condemned. No, Jesus forgave them from the cross as He died. Look around, the tragedies of war and mass shootings may scream for you to be filled. You will undoubtedly hear words of hate as reaction. And if HATE IS POISON what is the antidote? LOVE. LOVE IS THE NOURISHMENT OF THE SOUL. Jesus Christ nailed it. LOVE! LOVE THE FATHER, LOVE EACH OTHER, LOVE EVEN OUR ENEMIES. Where do we get such love and the ability to share it? All we have to do is ask. Please, Please ask this very moment for the LOVE of Christ to come; to come to you and through you to the world beyond. Pray for Uvalde. Pray for Buffalo. Pray for Ukraine. Pray for Love

I! I? Oh the message of the world today. I can do anything! I can be anything! I can have it all! It would seem that “I” is the h “I” ghest concept of all. Enter Jesus Christ and the cross. Consider that the closest letter in the alphabet to the cross, in shape, is the letter “t”. Add the letter t to the phrase I can and you get I can’t. In the Gospel of John, Jesus is crystal clear when He states “apart from Me, you CAN DO NOTHING“. I can sure try but I’ll never thrive. I can sure strive but I will never be successful…..until I become a part of the blessed We. Please, please understand, Jesus Christ is not telling you that You are inconsequential. No, Jesus goes on to promise us; abide in Me and you will do things that are great, even greater things. You see we were never created to be “I” apart from or outside of Jesus Christ. It is in the blessed We, that we we are created to live abundantly. How much does it cost, what is the entrance fee to become part of the blessed We? All you have to do is accept the invitation. All you have to do is knock, seek or ask and Jesus Christ will come and join you. Oh and please understand this, there is a price required to be a part of that relationship. The truth is that Jesus Christ completely paid that price in full with His life. Thus let us leave behind the isolation of the worldly “I” existence and live into the blessed We of Jesus Christ and me.

Good Friday is absolutely the correct title. Yes, the horrific treatment Jesus was going through was terrible and led to a barbaric death. However, at the same time and, in fact the reason for His death was He was becoming sin. He became or took upon Himself our sin. So now when Our Heavenly Father considers and sees us, He sees us as innocent because of what Jesus accomplished. So it is good, very good for us, the sacrifice Jesus made for us today. Only good and not great? The Greater thing comes three days hence with His resurrection. Let us live into that sacrifice and see the greatness of His Good act.

Yes…but. Will the worldly clouds obscure the silver lining of God’s blessings? Today, if you’re open to it, you will be blessed by God. I say open to it because, like any gift, if you never accept it, open it or use it, then there’s little or no value to it. The world and the prince of this world wants to distract you from seeing any blessings or at the very least minimize the blessings to the greatest extent possible. How?, with messages like yes I might have received a blessings but there is suffering over here or there, or yes but the blessing won’t last, tomorrow will be bad, or yes but the blessing could have been bigger/better. It’s not like God doesn’t want you to be empathetic or sympathetic; indeed, He wants you to experience the blessings so that you might share the blessings with others in need so they might know of God’s love. God is a God of infinite resources and power. It’s not like the fact that He blessed you today means He’s running out of blessings to be able to give tomorrow. God knows exactly the correct amount of blessing to give. As too much sugar can ruin a cake, a blessing that is the wrong size too large can bring about more damage then good. Jesus Christ is clear when He said: “In the world you will have tribulation”. Christ was also clear that we can still be of good cheer and expect blessings because Christ has overcome the world by the plan of Our Father. So don’t allow the clouds of the world to obscure the power of the blessing. Instead, do two things today. First, live into the love and blessings from God with thanksgiving. Then, share God’s blessings so that the world may feel some healing and know God’s love. Happy, blessed Monday and week.

Which?

This food is enough

These clothes are enough

This place is enough

This relationship is enough

These things are enough

This God is enough

This day is enough

or

I want more. I need more. I want what you have. I need what you have. I will take some or all of what you have. And God quite literally knows: I don’t care.

Love, generosity, contentment, peace, life

or

Anger, hatred, frustration, violence, war, death

Which today?

The choice is yours and mine and no one else’s

“…a man who sowed good seed in his field…..his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat…” Matthew 13:24,25

“The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?'” Matthew 13:28

“No, he answered, “Because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. …I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.” Matthew 13:29,30

The why referenced in the title is the “why?” of evil. Now this subject has been covered by brilliant theologians and philosophers down through the ages and I do not count myself anywhere close to their wisdom. However, the Good Lord has put it in my heart to write this and I hope there might be some comfort in its reading.

Jesus taught in parables. Jesus had many reasons for this but one of the declarations that He made was that: “No one knows the Father but the Son”. (Matthew 11:27) Jesus also stated that He wanted to reveal His Father to those whom He wished to. Thus the parable of the weeds is the second parable that Jesus uses and it comes write after the parable of the sower and the different soils (See The Servant Sower and the Soils Parts 1-3 March 2021).

While there were different lessons and motives for different parables, several Jesus started off with: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like……”. So again we see that Jesus is looking to reveal as best as our limited capacity to understand would allow, insights into Our Heavenly Father and His Kingdom. In this case, there is a man, a landowner who desires to grow a crop and starts the process by sowing good seed. Now to begin with it is vital that we understand that the only seed the landowner has is good. In no way shape or form do the weeds come from the landowner. If there was only the landowner, then only a wonderful crop would be produced by his efforts.

Yet, sadly, the landowner is not the only person with seeds. You see the landowner has an enemy. The enemy is going to attack the landowner by going after his crop that comes from the good seeds. The enemy seeds weeds into the landowner’s good crop. I don’t want to dwell on the enemy but notice that, in the parable, Jesus states, after sowing the weeds by night, the enemy leaves. You see the enemy has no care for the weeds. He has no desire to help the weeds grow or flourish. The only motive the enemy has is destruction; destruction of everything, the landowner, the landowner’s crop, even the weeds, no matter. The enemy is truly evil and sows evil.

Suddenly, in this field of good grain, sprouts weeds. Now the enemy may have worked in secret but his fruits, the weeds, are they for all to see; and they’re growing. Both the landowner and the landowner’s servants see the weeds. However, the servants don’t know how the weeds came to be in the field. Is it possible that there was some defect in the landowner’s seed or plan? No, the landowner explains the work of the evil one.

It is clear that the servants are not happy that the weeds are in the fields, find them harmful and want to get rid of them right then and there. In a way, they are as focused on the weeds and wanting to stop their growth and infiltration in the field, because they ask whether they should go and pull them up.

However, and please don’t miss the landowner’s focus and love, the landowner has a different focus. The landowner sees the weeds out in his good soil and in and amongst his good grain as well. He knows the weeds are feasting off the fine fertilized soil and will drink in the water that is provided. The landowner knows for a time, that the weeds will grow and survive.

Why wouldn’t the landowner order is servants to go out and rid his precious field of these horrible, evil weeds by yanking them out, complete roots and all? Because the landowner is focused on every single stalk of his precious good grain. The landowner is not willing to sacrifice a single precious plant of grain to the process of removing the weeds. The landowner is keenly aware how closely the weeds and grain are together with the weeds attempting to intertwine their roots with the grain.

The landowner loves the grain. Note this in the story; the grain continues to grow. The landowner deeply cares for the grain, will ensure that it is fertilized, watered and grows to its destined glorious maturity. While the landowner, for a time to keep from damaging in the slightest his grain, will tolerate the weeds, the landowner will not let the weeds takeover and destroy any of his good crop.

Finally, and don’t miss this, the end is not good for the weeds. Harvest time is coming. The landowner is in charge and his harvesters are talented enough to separate out every last weed, bundle them together and cast them out to be burned. Also, note where the power is. The enemy does not come back to fight for his weeds. The enemy has no control over the harvest time or the destruction of his weeds. The power for mercy and judgement rests completely with the landowner.

Why does evil exist? Well it doesn’t come from God in any way, shape or form. There is an enemy who is evil and wants to sow his evil against God and His creation at any moment he can. God knows this. Notice that it is only the good grain that is allowed in the landowner’s barn. God will not tolerate evil in His Kingdom in Heaven. Why does He tolerate it at all and not just purge it the instant the enemy tries to sow it?

Jesus Christ gives us an insight into the Father’s mercy, patience and love. The Father knows of our fallenness and how intertwined we can let evil be with us because of sin. The Father didn’t plant us so that we could be ruthlessly ripped out and destroyed when we allow evil to get close to us. We sometimes want to be hasty and judgmental when we see evil, wanting to strike out against it. How often do we look at the bigger picture of how our attack against evil might have unintended, destructive consequences to the good. If God’s focus was simply the immediate ridding of evil, would you be comfortable accepting the risk of being the collateral damage of God’s purge of evil?

Dear Sisters and Brothers, Jesus Christ makes it very clear. God planted us, God loves us. God is not willing to see us harmed in the process of rooting out evil. You may feel surrounded by evil weeds, but know this. You are the grain of God and He will nourish and strengthen you in His word, protect You by His power and water and sustain you with His love. Also, evil’s day of judgement is coming. God will not let evil slide. Evil will be thwarted, gathered up, tossed away and burned in an eternal fire. Our Heavenly Father went so far as to sacrifice His only Son that you and I would be rooted in the soil of His salvation. Take heart, be at peace and grow in the light and warmth of His all-encompassing love.

Our Most Gracious Heavenly Father, we see that this world has much evil in it. We confess, Father, that we, at times are tempted to become intertwined in that evil. Forgive us and protect us from the evil, most Merciful Father, keeping it from taking root in us and turning us to weed. By Your Spirit, remind us that we are Your creation, planted by You, nurtured by You, to be harvested by You and to dwell in Your Kingdom forever. Also restrain us, when we impatiently strike out against evil on our own, risking damaging others of Your crop with our impatience. Creator God, may it be that we would stand firmly rooted in the soil of love and salvation laid down by the sacrifice of Your Son, our Savior Jesus Christ, that we may grow to be the harvest that praises and brings praise to Your Most Holy Name. In the name of Jesus Christ we pray. Amen

“But he said to them: ‘Unless I see the nail marks in His hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe'” John 20:25

“Then He said to Thomas: ‘Put your finger here; see may hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.'” John 20:27

“Then Jesus told him: ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed, blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.'” John 20:29

SHOW ME THE DATA!! FOLLOW THE SCIENCE!! GIVE ME THE PROOF, THEN I WILL BELIEVE YOU!!!! These kinds of statements and many more like them are being bandied about, shouted at one another, used as a pretext for non-actions and the justification for other actions.

In a way it is not surprising in this instant Wiki-info world, where “facts” and data are just a few key strokes away, that the general public is less inclined to take declaratory statements at their face value. The fact that you’re reading this on some device means that you’ve also probably used that device to search for some recipe, some process like how to get your device working again or better, some aspect about that reoccurring pain in your body or some historical event you and someone are having a disagreement about. Why should I completely trust you if I can so easily look up the information myself. As a part of an “older” generation; it is not uncommon for us to look down on or speak disapprovingly of “younger” generations. However, I’m not so sure that our “higher” level of trust and respect of and for experts had as much to do with some virtue as it did the difficulty and time involved in researching all but the most obvious topics (i.e. needing a dictionary, encyclopedia or even library).

However, needing proof to accept and believe in something is not a new phenomena. Let’s take the disciple Thomas for example. Now understand that Thomas was not someone who had come to experience Jesus, briefly before Jesus’s death and resurrection. Thomas had been with Jesus throughout His ministry. Thomas had seen Jesus heal the sick, feed thousands, quiet the storm and even raise Lazarus from the grave. Thomas was the disciple who said to the rest of the disciples that they should accompany Jesus and die with Him when Jesus declared He was going to back to Judea (John 11:16)

Thomas had been through incredible times with Jesus and his brethren disciples. Thomas had been told by Mary, that Jesus had indeed risen from the grave and was alive, the third day after His crucifiction (although to be fair to Thomas, the other disciples didn’t believe Mary, at that time either). Now Thomas was confronted with testimony from 10 of his closest companions, that Jesus had risen from the dead; is not just some spirit but an actual, living in the flesh, being. And yet, Thomas did not believe them. Thomas needed proof. Testimony, no matter how credible; wasn’t going to cut it. For Thomas, seeing, touching was the only proof that would bring about his belief.

Now please Sisters and Brothers understand, this is not some sort of bad-Thomas, judgement story. As stated above, none of the disciples believed Mary, even after John and Peter found the tomb empty; until Jesus appeared in their midst (sans Thomas). Would Nathanial or James believed if either or both of them had also been missing? AND, I’m not so sure I’d been jumping up and down hallelujahing versus being mighty skeptical had I missed the glorious meeting.

Now let’s cut to the chase. It’s several thousand years later; dear Sisters and Brothers, is Jesus Christ alive today? Am I living, behaving, praising, praying and most importantly loving, as if Jesus Christ is as present here at this time as He was in Galilei? Jesus Christ declared that He would rise and indeed did rise from the grave. Through scripture we are told that Jesus Christ now resides at the Right Hand or Our Heavenly Father. The Holy Spirit is sent to us to testify to the current, vital life of Jesus Christ and the blessings that come from it. Do we believe? If we question, what proof do we need? What do I need to see, hear or touch?

I can hear you: “Come On! We’ve got wars every where we turn, pandemics, hatred, famines! From what I see, hear and experience, how can I be certain that if alive, that Jesus Christ’s being alive really maters?” Jesus Christ warned us; there would be manmade disasters (wars and such) and natural disasters. Yet Jesus also told us that; because of Him and His being alive, we can have peace in Him. Jesus declared as He has overcome the world, that should we believe and abide in Him, He will never forsake us and allow us to great things, even greater than He did.

I also hear you when you say and ask: ” I believe Jesus Christ lives. But, what am I supposed to say, supposed to do, to answer to others who don’t believe and require proof of God and Jesus? How do I prove it to them?” Jesus had/has an answer there too. He told us not to be afraid or worry about what we are to say when asked to defend our faith. Jesus told us the Holy Spirit will supply us with what to say. Additionally, Jesus made it clear; we’re not to be in the business of proving His existence. We are to live lives of love, proclaiming the risen Lord and that is enough.

Finally, something to consider. Jesus Christ did come to Thomas. When Jesus came to Thomas, He didn’t curse Thomas or cast him away for his unbelief. Hardly, instead Jesus, in mercy, allowed the proof that Thomas needed. And Thomas did end up believing and serving.

Jesus Christ is alive. Let it be that you and I Dear Sisters and Brothers find ourselves among those who Jesus declared blessed; that we do truly believe in the earthly life, death, resurrection and continued life of Jesus Christ, even though we have yet to see Him. And in that blessing, live lives that bring praise and glory to the Name of Our Heavenly Father.

Our Most Gracious Heavenly Father, we understand that we live in a world where now most everything is open to debate and requests for proof to believe are everywhere, even proof of Your existence and that of Your Son Jesus Christ. Forgive us Merciful Father when we too find ourselves questioning our faith and Your relevance/power in this world. Through Your Holy Spirit, Dear Father, fill us, strengthen us, calm us; allow us to abide in Your Living Son, that there we might find that certain confident faith. Through Jesus Christ, let us be beacons of Your light, hope and love that will show others the path that leads to belief and life in You. We thank You, Creator God for Your patient mercy with us, Your creation, that You would fill us with Your steadfast love which is all the proof that will ever be needed. We pray this in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

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