Father George Worship Service

Sermon, May 9, 2021

How Do We Abide?

Easter VI (RCL Cycle B)/9 May 2021

Happy Easter!

Today Jesus is saying “farewell” to his disciples, and to us.  This Thursday is the Feast of the Ascension.  On that day, we will gather with the disciples on the crest of the Mount of Olives overlooking Jerusalem and watch as Jesus vanishes from our sight.

In last week’s Gospel, we heard Jesus tell us to abide in him in the same way he abides in the Father.  We are instructed to live this way because this is the means by which our faith, even our lives are sustained and nurtured.  Thus, enabling our souls to grow deeper into that mystery we call grace.

There are two questions before us this morning and in actuality they are one and the same question.  The first is how do we live the abundant life Jesus promises?  The second is how do we live and abide in this abundant life?  Brother David Vyrhof of the Cowley Fathers puts it this way:

Why is it that we do not always experience abundant life? Perhaps it is because we do not know how to abide, how to live in union with Jesus, so that his life becomes our life, his strength our strength, his love our love.

Our Gospel passage today is a continuation of last week’s reading (Jn. 15:1-8) from Jesus’ farewell discourse to his disciples on the night before he died. Here we learn that God’s love for us as followers of Christ is in turn to be embodied through love for Christ and for one another. Jesus declares, “As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love” (Jn. 15:9). Moreover, just as Jesus has been faithful in keeping the Father’s commandments, his followers are to do likewise (v. 10).

Obedience and abiding are indistinguishable in the life of Jesus. From his Baptism, to the wilderness temptations, to healing the ill and infirm, to fraternizing with the outcast and unclean, to challenging Israel’s religious leaders, and finally to giving his life at Golgotha — Jesus’ life has been lived according to God’s will for him.

Such obedience, as a sign of genuine love, is also a source of great joy. Far from being oppressive, this obedience to God leads to a sense of purpose, wholeness, and fulfillment, so that believers’ “joy may be complete” (v. 11).

We are to express that Divine love by loving one another in the same way that Jesus loved us. “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you” (v. 12; cf 13:34-35). This love is expressed by actions, not just words or feelings, and is seen most clearly in the way of self-sacrifice — in laying down one’s life for one’s friends (v. 13), as Jesus did for us.

When the disciples obey Jesus’ commandments and share his love, they are no longer “servants” — they are his “friends” (vv. 14-15). The slave or servant of even the most generous master does what is commanded by necessity, because a hierarchy of authority exists between them. Now a new relationship is established based on mutual commitment and trust. This friendship is a manifestation of Jesus’ steadfast love and a call to service and faithfulness.

In acknowledging the disciples as friends, Jesus has opened to them all that the Father has given him to reveal. He has withheld nothing — they know what he knows. They now have everything required for them to be fellow workers with God for the salvation of the world. They have matured in Christ from being servants who follow orders to becoming co-working friends.

Jesus goes on to make clear that their discipleship is not something they planned and executed. Jesus chose them and charged them with a purpose. John’s Gospel makes no stronger statement on the call to vocation than here. Moreover, they are chosen to bear fruit that should last (v. 16) as they carry on Jesus’ mission.

To this Jesus adds a promise. When a disciple brings his or her will into conformity with God’s will, which is love, the empowerment to love will be manifested in any petition. In this obedience, there is no limitation to what God can and will do in the life of the believer.

We have not chosen Jesus; he has chosen us. We may never understand the reasons for God’s choice. It is enough if we learn what we have been called to do: love one another and glorify the name of the Father by keeping the commandments given to us. “I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another” (v. 17).

These words of Jesus are echoed in today’s Epistle, where we read that we are children of God by loving and obeying God’s commandments: “For the love of God is this, that we obey his commandments” (1 Jn. 5:3a). However, the commandments are not burdens to be borne, but are the way to life and fulfillment. Thus, the life obtained in Jesus’ name is a gain over the world for all who believe. “And this is the victory that conquers the world, our faith” (v. 4b). This victory is the work of Jesus the Redeemer “who came by water and blood” (v. 6a) — the water of Baptism and the blood of his death and Resurrection. The presence of the Spirit further affirms the witness of Jesus as God’s Son. “And the Spirit is the one that testifies, for the Spirit is the truth” (v. 6b; cf Jn. 15:26).

John Taylor, writing in The Go-Between God states:

Patriarchs, prophets and kings had from time to time acted as intercessors for the people, and Moses was the supreme example of this. Yet no figure in the Bible before the appearance of Christ seems to have depended upon the habit of communion with God as Jesus did. We tend to read back into the Old Testament and into the devotional patterns of other faiths those meanings which Jesus gave to the word “prayer,” and so conceal the fact that what was so characteristic of Jesus is almost unique amid the formal recitations which are the commonplace of religion everywhere else, including most of the churches. Other faiths have their mystics, but only in Jesus, I believe, can we find such spontaneous and personal communion with God combined with such passionate ethical concern for humanity. Both awareness of God and awareness of the world attain their zenith in him. …

And then, for the first time, through the quiet tones of human speech, the sound-waves of this world were stirred by that eternal converse which is ever passing between the Father and the Son in the Being of God. And since the third person of the Trinity is himself that communion which flows between the Father and the Son, the Spirit is the very breath of the prayer of Jesus. Immersed in the Go-Between Spirit, he cried Abba! And knew himself as the Beloved Son. And pouring out that Spirit upon the openness-to-each-other of his friends he shared with them the right to use the same naively bold address: Abba![i]

Now the saving grace of Christ was to be offered to all — not through external circumstances, but because of the faith of believers. The message of God’s love through Christ can truly be preached to the ends of the earth, and the gifts of the Holy Spirit and Baptism extended to all who hear and accept the love of God through Christ. This is indeed a “marvelous thing.”

Living the abundant life and abiding in Jesus is both simple and difficult at the same time.  All we have to do is to accept the unconditional love Jesus offers – that is the easy part.  The other thing we have to do is to love our brothers and sisters unconditionally, just like Jesus, thus we abide and build what our Presiding Bishop calls “The Beloved Community.”


Happy Easter!


[i] John Taylor, The Go-Between God (Oxford Univ. Press, 1972), pp. 225-226

Father George Worship Service

Sermon, March 28, 2021 – Palm Sunday

We resumed in-person services on Palm Sunday. We hope to be streaming services from the church in the near future. In the meanwhile, here is a transcript of Father George’s sermon from this past week.

Minding the Gaps

Palm Sunday (RCL Cycle B)/28 March 2021

Today is Palm Sunday and marks the beginning of the holiest week of our Christian year.  It’s also known as Pasion Sunday because the seminal event is a reading of the Passion narrative – this year from Mark’s Gospel.  Either way, it is a day which pulls us in many directions at the same time leaving us unsettled and confused as we try to make sense out of this week.  The events of Holy Week are necessary in order for us to begin to comprehend the wonder of Easter.  There is no skipping over the week – we have to go through it in order to arrive at Easter.

While traveling on trains, we are often reminded to mind the gap. It is a cautionary statement; to be careful of the distance between spaces, the holes and cracks where one might fall, trip, or be injured. I think this warning is implicit in the text, even while Paul warns explicitly of evil workers in this letter. Growing to be more like Jesus can be filled with pitfalls. When we do not have the mind of Jesus, we are likely to behave in ways that do not glorify God. When we do not have the mind of Jesus, there is discord, confusion, and destruction. How, then, do we keep our minds stayed on Jesus?

This Sunday, as if Jesus suddenly coming to his senses, enters Jerusalem, hailed by crowds who want to make him into the triumphal king who will save them from Rome. Jesus doesn’t care. He is already walking away from our shouts of hosanna. He’s moving toward the meal he most longs for, the last one, when he’ll kneel down like a servant to wash his friends’ feet. He’s walking toward our angry shouts of “Crucify him!” and toward our betrayals, as one by one we abandon him to torture and death; he is walking toward the edge of the world.

None of it can stop him. He jumps off the edge, on to the cross; and into God’s time. Life, eternal. The life we are living today.

Which means, in a pretty unsettling way, Holy Week can’t be about a story that took place in the past, or a mere remembrance, or a historical re-enactment. It’s about the kind of life Jesus makes possible for all of us right now.

That life demands a different mind than the one I generally use. My own mind wants to shout hosannas in a happy crowd waving palms, and later on be able to blame that other crowd, the Jews, for all the bad stuff that happens. My own mind wants to claim Jesus as my friend and me as his personal favorite and pretend I won’t betray him, later, like his other friends. I want to act as if I’m somehow separate from all the other suffering, sinful souls Jesus pours himself out for: disciples and executioners, cheering and jeering crowds; each one of you.

So it’s really hard for me to walk with Jesus in a manner worthy of the Gospel. Sure, I want forgiveness; but I don’t necessarily want to admit how violent my impulses can be, how capable I am of yelling “crucify.” Sure, I want new life, but I don’t want to sit abandoned in a garden, be humiliated and hurt and killed, to get there. I want to hang on to my own power, and save myself, rather than empty myself like Jesus. I know Palm Sunday’s exciting, but I also have a feeling it’s going to get pretty dark over the next week, before it’s time for Easter.

Except — except that we’re on God’s time now. And it turns out I don’t have to jump off the edge of the world alone, because Jesus already has. His abiding love is everywhere. The good news is that there’s nothing left for me to do through my own anxious efforts at self-improvement. There’s nothing left for any of us to do. God is always moving all humanity closer to God, with the endless love of our friend and savior Jesus lighting the way for us, from the cross.

Palm Sunday serves as a reminder that a triumphant beginning and ending is possible, indeed inevitable, though the journey between these places will be difficult. These seemingly impossible moments present us with opportunities to practice being humble and obedient, to extend forgiveness, and to have a willingness to change so that we can become more like Christ. Let us mind the gaps and not fall for things that would separate us from God or from each other. 

During this Holy Week, as we journey with Jesus to the cross, let us walk mindfully, being concerned about what concerns him. In this particularly challenging moment, let us be reminded that the God who meets us at the cross is the God who will give us resurrecting power. The Psalmist puts it: What is humanity that God is mindful of us? (Psalm 8:5)  But perhaps the question that we should carry with us is how we can be mindful of God as we follow Jesus and mind the gaps.


Father George Worship Service

All Saints’ Day Worship Highlights November 1, 2020

The church met for the first time at the church since late March, 2020. Of course, we met outside keeping our distance from one another and wearing masks.

Father George Inspirational

June 28, 2020 Sermon

Father George’s Sermon:

Welcome  (28 June 2020)

“The Episcopal Church Welcomes You” this is the message of the ubiquitous blue and white signs that mark the way to a local parish church all over this country.  When I travel noticing those signs have started many a side trip, or distraction, from the road.

This morning’s Gospel is about welcoming the stranger, inviting into our midst one who is unknown to us and bringing them into our fellowship – inviting them to be at home with us, even if they’re just “passing through.”

In the ancient middle east hospitality wasn’t just a courtesy, it was often a matter of life or death.  Travelers were sometimes dependent upon the kindness of strangers for food, water, and shelter in an extremely hostile environment.  To turn someone, especially a sojourner away was a grievous breach of cultural expectations and was considered a sin in many communities.

Hospitality and welcoming are something we do well here at the Church of the Mediator.  In the few short months with you I have noticed that we go out of our way to welcome the visitor, make them feel at home in our worship services, and see that they are included in our fellowship time in Ryan Hall.  In this way, we are living into both our baptismal covenant and our congregation’s mission statement.

When we welcome the stranger, or sojourner, into our midst we are welcoming Christ himself.  Throughout Christian history we Jesus appeared to his Church, he always came to us in the guise of a stranger – often a poor stranger who would be easy for us to reject and/or neglect.

Joan Chittister writing in her book in 40 Stories to Stir the Soul (Benetvision, 2010) tells this story:

There was a monastery that was renowned for its hospitality, a welcoming place for many weary travelers in need of rest. One day while the abbot was deep in prayer, an angel appeared, surrounded by golden light. The abbot gazed in rapt contemplation and was filled with a peace beyond measure.

Suddenly a series of heavy knocks resounded on the front door. “It is some weary traveler come to find shelter,” the abbot said to himself. “What should I do? If I go and answer the door, the angel might disappear. If I stay, who will care for the traveler?”

Reluctantly the abbot rose, looked resignedly at the angel, and left the room in order to attend to the needs of the dust-stained traveler. When he returned to his cell, the angel, to the abbot’s great surprise, was still there. The angel said to him, “Had you not gone to help the needy traveler, I myself would have been compelled to leave.”

From 40 Stories to Stir The Soul

When we welcome the stranger, we welcome Jesus himself; and suddenly, we find that we are his guests at his table as he welcomes us into his fellowship.  Amen.

Please know that you are in my thoughts and prayers every day.  Stay safe and let us all remember to pray for each other.


Fr. George+

Church News Father George Inspirational

About Spiritual Communion

Adapted from the weekly email to members of Church of the Mediator by Father George, June 26 2020.

Several have asked about “Spiritual Communion.”  I’ve written a brief response, as follows:

Interest in “spiritual communion” is on the rise as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to ravage our nation and the world making our usual form of Holy Communion impossible in light of remote worship services.  It’s actually a reawakening of a long-standing spiritual discipline that many Christians have used through the ages to connect with the presence of Jesus the Christ in the Holy Eucharist when access to the Eucharistic celebration was either not available or practical.  The Roman Catholic Church offers it as an alternative for non-Romans attending the Mass who are not permitted to receive Communion.

The practice of Spiritual Communion is used by Christians, especially Lutherans, Catholics, Anglicans and Methodists, when they have been unable to receive the Holy Communion, especially in times of sickness and during persecution by states hostile towards religion. Anglican priest Jonathan Warren Pagán cited the joy Walter Ciszek experienced by making spiritual communion during the era of state atheism in the Soviet Union that resulted in the persecution of Christians in the Eastern Bloc.

Referencing theology related to the Body of Christ and the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, Anglican priest Jonathan Warren Pagán wrote that “Gathered worship in word and sacrament is therefore not an optional add-on for Christians” though the COVID-19 pandemic rendered it necessary to move to online formats for the common good. He encouraged the practice of Spiritual Communion amidst the pandemic, especially during the Anglican service of Morning Prayer. Pope Francis also suggested that the faithful say Spiritual Communion prayers during the COVID-19 pandemic, which renewed interest in the practice; Methodist clergy have also encouraged Spiritual Communion. Wikipedia

An article in Wikipedia states:

According to Catholic theologians, the value of a spiritual can be as great as Holy Communion itself. “Spiritual Communion, as St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Alphonsus Liguori teach, produces effects similar to Sacramental Communion, according to the dispositions with which it is made, the greater or less earnestness with which Jesus is desired, and the greater or less love with which Jesus is welcomed and given due attention,” stated Father Stefano Manelli, O.F.M. Conv., S.T.D., in his book Jesus our Eucharistic Love.

“A special advantage of Spiritual Communion is that we can make it as often as we like — even hundreds of times a day — when we like — even late at night — and wherever we like — even in a desert, or up in an airplane,” Fr. Stefano continued.

The Church of England, mother Church of the Anglican Communion, teaches with regard to Spiritual Communion that “Believers who cannot physically receive the sacrament are to be assured that they are partakers by faith of the body and blood of Christ and of the benefits he conveys to us by them.” Some examples:

My Jesus, I believe that Thou art present in the Blessed Sacrament. I love Thee above all things and I desire Thee in my soul. Since I cannot now receive Thee sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. As though Thou wert already there, I embrace Thee and unite myself wholly to Thee; permit not that I should ever be separated from Thee. Amen.

Another example is:

As I cannot this day enjoy the happiness of assisting at the holy Mysteries, O my God! I transport myself in spirit at the foot of Thine altar; I unite with the Church, which by the hands of the priest, offers Thee Thine adorable Son in the Holy Sacrifice; I offer myself with Him, by Him, and in His Name. I adore, I praise, and thank Thee, imploring Thy mercy, invoking Thine assistance, and presenting Thee the homage I owe Thee as my Creator, the love due to Thee as my Savior. Apply to my soul, I beseech Thee, O merciful Jesus, Thine infinite merits; apply them also to those for whom I particularly wish to pray. I desire to communicate spiritually, that Thy Blood may purify, Thy Flesh strengthen, and Thy Spirit sanctify me. May I never forget that Thou, my divine Redeemer, hast died for me; may I die to all that is not Thee, that hereafter I may live eternally with Thee. Amen.

Here’s a couple of Protestant examples (also from Wikipedia):

Mitchell Lewis, a Methodist elder, authored an act of Spiritual Communion for use in the Methodist tradition:

My Jesus, I love you above all things. How I long to receive you with my brothers and sisters at the table you have prepared. Since I cannot at this moment receive you in bread and wine according to your promise in the sacrament of Holy Communion, I ask you to feed me with the manna of your Holy Spirit and nourish me with your Holy presence. I unite myself wholly to you. Never permit me to be separated from your love. Amen.

St. Stephen Evangelical Lutheran Church, a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in Pompano Beach, published the following act of Spiritual Communion:

Lord Jesus, we desire earnestly to experience your love as guests at the heavenly feast you have prepared for your children on earth in the most holy Sacrament of the Altar. As were are not able on this day to be gathered at your Table, may we receive you into our hearts by faith, trusting the word of your promise, that “those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.” Strengthen our faith, increase our love and hope; and after this life grant us a place at your heavenly table, where we shall eat of the eternal manna, and drink of the river of your pleasure forevermore. Hear us for your own Name’s sake. Amen.

I commend the practice of Spiritual Communion to you as a means of staying spiritually connected during this time while we need to be apart.  Always remember that there is no place or situation where our Lord is absent from us.

Father George Inspirational

3rd Sunday after Pentecost

Why Are You Afraid?

This past several weeks the talking heads on the various news programs have been commenting on the fearfulness of our times.  I will admit that some of the news is potentially frightening.  Yet, once again, we hear Jesus inviting us, no urging us, to let go of our fears.  The one phrase he says more than any other is, “Do not be afraid.”  Yet, fear continues to be a potent and pervasive force in our lives and in the life of our community.

From the moment we are born, we learn to fear the world around us, certainly to fear the stranger, sometimes to fear even those who are closest to us. Political leaders have long recognized the power of fear in ensuring our conformity to the structures this world, even when doing so does not serve our best interests. Fear is the driving force behind vast segments of our economy, as well as, increasingly, our political priorities.

Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross in a lecture at Auburn University said that we are born with two innate, or natural, fears: loud noises from behind and falling from a height.  All of our other fears are learned – including our fear of strangers and the unknown.  Our parents, and our families, are the chief source for our learning; and once embedded into our souls, our fears are difficult to dislodge and/or overcome.

Jesus recognizes that fear will also cause the failure of discipleship. Jesus’ disciples courageously leave the security of their homes and families to follow him as they proclaim the advent of God’s reign, but they, too, will know and ultimately bow before the power of fear. Faithful proclamation and practice of the gospel inevitably puts disciples on a collision course with the powers of this world. So, as Jesus prepares his disciples for their mission to the “lost sheep of the house of Israel,” he is starkly realistic about the threats they will face, at the same time he builds the case for why they should not let this fear master them or hinder their witness.

Is there an answer for our fears and anxieties?  I believe the answer lies within today’s epistle lesson.  Paul is describing for us both the immediate, and eternal, effects of the sacrament of baptism by linking our baptism with the death and resurrection of Jesus, reminding us that as Christians our lives are already caught up in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus the Christ.

Theologically, Paul’s view on baptism is that it is a journey or a process and its effects are not only for a moment but for an entire life. Believers must understand that the baptism Paul is talking about in Romans 6 does not just wash away the stains of sin, but rather, it is a participation in the death of Jesus the Christ and an anticipation of his resurrection.

The result of this participation and anticipation are that one has to believe in and embody a resurrection life. Christian life is basically a life of resurrection and that is what makes Christian faith unique from other religions. Secondly, baptism does not erase sin, rather it puts it in check. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, baptism builds a wall around a believer and sets boundaries on what to practice and what not. With time, a believer walks into grace and life become a new creation Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:17.

One can experience salvation in the now moment, but the full view of salvation is a mystery and will be revealed to us in God’s time. The theological point to be noted is that the follower of Christ is reconciled with God and is in the furnace of being saved. The reconciled person in Paul’s theological view is the one who will “walk in the newness of life.” Salvation in Paul’s proclamation of the Gospels is that it is embodied in the real life of a believer. However, suffering, temptation, and tribulation are not excluded simply because one is in Christ. Rather, suffering is in many ways a process through which God’s salvation can be manifested and realized.

Those who identify themselves with Jesus the Christ in his atonement through baptism can no longer tolerate and even cooperate with sin – which includes our fears. Our life is now grounded, shaped, directed, and formed by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In other words, the motivating center of our everyday living is now directed towards Jesus the Christ. Everything we do is determined by Jesus the Christ on whom and through whom sin has been defeated forever.

This is the hardest part of being a Christian, not just in North America but also in the Global South. Christians must always remind themselves that our old self, our culture, our rights, our private spaces, and the desires of our flesh were crucified with Jesus the Christ. Our daily living must demonstrate our newfound and grace-filled status in Christ.

As we continue to live in fearful times, let us remember the calming words: “Don’t be afraid.”  In doing so, let us once again remember who we are, and whose we are through our baptism; and surrender our fears to the all-consuming love of Jesus.

Father George

Father George Inspirational

Easter 6, May 17, 2020

Easter 6, 2020

The readings for this Sunday offer a rich variety of material.  We have Paul preaching at the Areopagus in Athens telling his listeners that the “Unknown God” they have been worshiping is really the One who created the heavens and earth and gave his only Son for us.  Peter reminds us that it is our baptism which seals our salvation.  The Gospel reading takes us back to the last supper when Jesus is saying “goodbye” to his disciples.

Our Gospel reading for today continues with that part of John’s Gospel known as the “Farewell Discourse” (John 13 – 16).  Although the words are spoken on the night he was handed over to suffering and death, they only begin to make sense when we listen to them in the context of the Easter Season.  Jesus is physically leaving us for the final time.  Ascension Day is next Thursday, May 21st.  So, Jesus is preparing us for his visible departure from us.

One of the things Jesus does to prepare us for his leave-taking is the promise of an Advocate who will be present with us always, who will remind us of Jesus’ teaching, and serve as a resource for our conscience – both individually and collectively.  This promised Advocate is the Holy Spirit who will be given to us on the feast of Pentecost just two weeks from now (May 31st this year).  The Holy Spirit is the outward sign that Jesus is still present with us in our thoughts and actions, as well as in our prayers – he reminds us that we are never truly alone, even in the midst of our loneliness.

This is one of the underlying gifts given to us in baptism.  Baptism is the outward and visible sign that we belong to Christ – a relationship that is absolute and eternal.  It’s more indelible than any tattoo, but it marks us as Christ’s own forever.  It is through baptism that we, and the world, know that we have accepted Jesus the Christ as our Savior and have promised to follow him as our Lord. 

Another gift given to us by the Holy Spirit is an awareness of God’s presence in what might seem to be the oddest places.  Paul uses something he has noticed – the altar to the “Unknown God” as a segue into proclaiming the Good News to his listeners.  Think of those moments when an apparently ordinary event or occurrence gave a flash of insight into God’s love and gracious presence.

All of this together offer us some of the tools we will need when Jesus takes his leave of us on Ascension Day with a promise to return and take us to himself. Amen.

Father George Inspirational

2nd Sunday of Easter


Second Sunday of Easter, a.k.a. St. Thomas’ Sunday or “Low Sunday”

 Our journey through the Great Fifty Days of Easter continues with a story we hear every year on this Sunday – St. Thomas’ story.  We all know the story; you can read it at the following link:

John 20:19-31  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.” After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 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.”

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.” 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.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 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.”

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.

The importance of Thomas’ story is that it speaks directly to our faith stories.  Thomas was the first of the “second-generation Christians” – those who learned the Good News from another person without being a personal witness.  You and I are all second-generation Christians, because we know the story from hearing it from another person.  Just as the Good News was told to us by another, hopefully we will tell others about Jesus.

Who told you the Good News?  During this another week of staying at home, I invite you to think about those who told you about Jesus and his resurrection  As you recall them, gave thanks for their willingness to tell the story to yet another generation.