..when I was much younger & we were given an Easter egg, the great delight & excitement was to peel off silver paper & then crack the egg..in those days the thick chocolate needed cracking..& then begin to eat to crunch the pieces.. never a sense of disappointment until Cadburys / Nestle started to put small bag of sweets inside some eggs..& suddenly an empty egg became a let down.. ..it came to mind as I read 1st rdg from Acts of Apostles describing the best practice of earliest Christian communities..peel off our silver paper & it is a description of the thick Christian good practice for which we have long been reknowned..& in recent years with expectation of the special treat, the value added, on inside.. however the reality is, if we are to honest, perhaps more like the good old fashioned egg ..a let down..empty of or at best thin on passion conviction & generosity.. ..how many doubting Thomas’ have you convinced this week that Christ has died, Christ has Risen & Christ has has has come again?..
“none was ever in want..all who owned houses would sell them & bring the money.” .. a carefully calculated contribution or the widows mite?.. ; Lord have mercy “the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection & they were all given great respect” ..respect undermined by mistake abuse & indifference.. ; Christ have mercy “the money was then distributed to any member who might be in need..” ..”might be in need” do we give or share ?..freely or means tested? ; Lord have mercy
May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins & bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
“Thomas, called the Twin, who was one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came”..where was Thomas?..at their most vulnerable, when they were sticking together like never before, locked into upper room terrified for their own safety & wellbeing..so where was Thomas?..he walked out..frustrated at their self care & security?..angry at their instant return to the spoilt child poor me syndrome which had dogged their 3yr ministry with Jesus?..”united heart & soul”? “testifying to the resurrection of the Lord”?..what resurrection..& thereby as a consequence what respect?..”none of their members was ever in want, as those who owned land or houses would sell them, the money distributed to any members who might be in need”..might be..maybe Thomas had gone out to practice what was so eloquently being preached..to make sure the Easter egg wasn’t to be found to be a disappointment..in 1981 as novice I spent 6 mths on our Parish in Bamber Bridge.. one family husband wife four teenage girls watched 9pm BBC news & graphic images of famine..thousands dying through malnutrition/ cholera..at end of news turned off tv..what can we do to help?..their fidelity to prayer was the shell but what of the value added from the inside?..working class family only luxury they had was a caravan which they took for treasured happy holidays to Tenby..six of them “united heart & soul” decided to sell it & buy tent instead..next morning father drove to local caravan company, asked what they would give him for their caravan, & how much it would cost for a six berth tent..the part exchange deal gained £2500 [ 1981 currency ]..he put tent in boot of car & on way home stopped at Barclays Bank handed over £2500 for the Ethiopian Disaster Appeal Fund..”& Thomas nor Bernard Dixon was with them when Jesus came”..2000yrs later & 38yrs ago few would be aware what these two eminent disciples were up to..servant discipleship at its finest, below the radar..in spite of the crowings of other ten, having hastily judged & jettisoned Judas some days earlier for his insurrection & absenteism ..”we have seen the Lord” taste hear the self appreciation self congratulation ..we were in right place at right time & we got the filled easter egg!..& our Thomas, having been let down by this motley crew of insiders, isn’t going to take the put down lightly “unless I see the holes & can put my finger into his side I refuse to believe” I am not prepared to take your word..your easy empty word for it..poor Thomas 8 days of self disappointment, having seemingly chosen wrong moment to be out, & some doubtful questioning of his Lord, having chosen to visit the upper room at very moment he was out serving him in need..”how could you do this to me?”..words of wounded distraught husband or wife when an absence in body mind or spirit is so easily so understandably read/ misread..& 8 days later Jesus returns “peace be with you” again..then he calls Thomas forward..“put your finger here; look, here are my hands..give me your hand, put it into my side..doubt no longer but believe.” shared with you before Caravaggios “the incredulity of Thomas” where Jesus takes Thomas by wrist & very gently puts his finger not just onto the wound but into his side, under flap of skin & into wound..Thomas invited into pain agony love, the inside of Jesus’ life death & now resurrection..& Thomas’ profession of faith “my Lord & my God!”..Thomas doubted not his Lord but himself & his fellow crew members..in faith like Jesus he’d risked his life & taken radical option..”the absence of risk is a sure sign of mediocrity” a wake up call for the 10 then & us now..the cosy Easter appearance to insiders & the peace filled blessing isn’t enough..that gains you the equivalent to the Cadburys / Nestle egg with its small bag of treats on inside..whilst they, & some of us, gain the egg sweets & the milk green top, it is poor Thomas who gets the real treat..the cream & the milk blue top, in finding his egg apparently empty..until he realises his egg has been purposefully emptied by his generous servant discipleship in losing a caravan & finding the egg of all eggs..a real relationship with the Risen Christ which allows him to voice from heart what you & I can only dream about or risk starting to voice “my Lord & my God”..take heart, the servant doubter not the compliant voice gets to see touch & taste..get cracking. .[ 2ndEasterYr B Jn20;19-31]