Touching God

There’s always one.

“Does anybody know what we have to do next?” he asked. The question prompted a collective sigh of relief. We were repairing a dry stone wall, trying to put in ‘through’ stones. Our efforts at the base of the wall were a bit unstable. It was like a rerun of an old ‘Generation Game’ only with no excuse for Bruce Forsythe to say “Didn’t they do well!”

“Does anyone know what we do next?” It’s what we were all thinking.

This last chapter of Luke’s gospel takes us from empty tomb to Emmaus Road and now to Jesus showing the disciples his wounds and eating with them. In John’s gospel, we also have Thomas who missed the first visit, now wanting proof of Jesus’ resurrection. Unless I touch his wounds, I will not believe, Thomas says in John’s gospel. He’s probably not the only one with questions. Hearing about Jesus’ appearances for the first time were Jews who believed in resurrection only if it restored the whole body to function, including eating. No wispy spirit returned from the dead would do. Can I touch him? says Thomas. It’s what they were all thinking.

Thomas’s encounter with Jesus not only reassures today’s Christians that Jesus was resurrected but also invites us to appreciate that God is mystery, always beyond our capacity to understand, always in the territory of our doubts and uncertainties. It reveals to us that God in Jesus is aware of our human need for some kind of contact. We might not fully understand the mystery of God’s presence that surrounds us and fills us but we can be assured he is there, reaching out, wanting to touch us.

Does anyone know what we do next? Perhaps read Luke 24: 33-43, or John 20: 24-29. Imagine yourself in that room. Let yourself be amazed by the Risen Jesus coming to his friends, reaching out to them when they were at their dinner… reaching out to you as you sit, here and now….