We saw Thomas caught in the spotlight (last post) and we melted into the shadows with the other disciples, imagining their response to the unexpected appearance of their risen Lord.
Whereas a stage is open – to the audience, and to the wings and backstage area – the eleven men were in a locked room, the idea being that the enemies of Jesus couldn’t get in to arrest them, or worse.
For them, then, there was safety behind those locked doors. And when we go to bed at night, having put out the cat (if we have a cat who hunts in the hours of darkness) we may well experience a sense of reassurance as we lock our doors and hang up the keys in a safe place.
Right now, however, the very mention of locking has completely different connotations.
Some people are not allowed to go beyond their own threshold, for the sake of their own safety. Of these, some will simply not understand what is going on while others will make the best of a situation not of their own choosing, in the interests not only for themselves but for their families and friends and even complete strangers.
Probably no-one is finding it easy all of the time, whatever their circumstances.
So if you’re climbing the walls (metaphorically, that is, unless you are a cat) with frustration or boredom, or shrinking into your armchair for you are afraid of catching coronavirus and feel helpless to keep it at bay, then may I invite you once again to turn to the scene in that locked room in Jerusalem (John’s Gospel chapter 20, verses 19-29).
Whether you place yourself in the spotlight with Thomas or in the shadows with one of the other eleven, hear the Risen Saviour say, here and now, in your own home, regardless of your situation: “Peace be with you.”
And he says a second time, in case you didn’t get it the first time: “Peace be with you.”
This is not the only evening when our Lord brings calm to a situation of upset. Here is the account from Mark’s Gospel (chapter 4, verses 35-41).
“ … when evening came, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”
Take a moment to look at this photo of the Sea of Galilee.