Sunday morning worship at Grace Episcopal Church remains online. Evening Prayer is offered outdoors on Sunday evenings for a congregation of 50 or less. All are welcome, however registration is required. Please visit our Grace@Home page for the registration link and to see all the ways we are staying connected to one another, to Grace, and to God!
422 Brenau Avenue, Gainesville, GA 30501
In the name of the Risen Lord we meditate his word, our hearts are open and our minds receptive! Blessed be God forever!! Amen.
Alleluia! Christ is risen! The Lord is Risen indeed! Alleluia!!
Few days ago, I saw a meme in social media that has the devil and God sitting at the same table, and the devil with a smirk on his face said “see I closed all churches with this pandemic” and God with a beautiful smile said “and I open a church in every home with this pandemic”. God is with us, my friends!
How many times have we heard the phrase doubting Thomas! I tell you, Thomas was an Episcopalian!! (Let us see how) I love this reading because I love the figure of Thomas. I even printed this image last year and we have a copy in our vesting sacristy.
Today’s Gospel brings to us the Apostle Thomas with different lessons for us today. First, in Thomas, we see the most beautiful expression of our humanity. Thomas represented all of us by needing proof, by requiring experiencing himself the resurrection, which at the end is what we long for?
The next lesson is that Jesus welcomes our questions, and He knows our questions (bring your finger, Thomas…) Thomas called Jesus God, he is the first person to call Jesus God after the resurrection in the Gospel of John. He is the first that look Jesus in the eye and recognized that Jesus was God. It is fascinating that the Gospel of John starts by The Word was God and end with this image of Thomas calling Jesus (the incarnate Word of God) my Lord and my God.
In the Roman catholic liturgy back to the 16 century these words were part of the response that it was said at the elevation of the consecrated elements. It was removed from the liturgy back in the early 1900’s and many still use these words, especially back home, we still use these words in the roman and Anglican traditions.
Thomas is teaching us in this 2020, in the middle of a pandemic and so much uncertainty, that Jesus, whom we celebrate, is risen from the dead. He is our hope and our strength. Thomas is teaching us that we need to look again and again to Jesus to the Risen Lord, again and again, until we can talk from the heart and say, “My Lord and My God!!!!! In such a short phrase, Thomas captured one of the most beautiful professions of faith.
The next lesson is to have the tenacity of engaging in our mission. Move beyond the questions that prevent us from embodying our mission and our role in the church of the Risen Lord. Thomas stood up and continue his mission. It is the belief that Thomas went towards India in his purpose of proclaiming the resurrection of the Lord to others.
Finally, Thomas is teaching us that the encounter with the resurrected Christ should leave us in awe, not just now in this second Sunday of Easter. This awe should change how we are looking at this pandemic. This should change how we are raising a generation that has experienced more in their short existence that many of us in our lifetimes. Through Thomas, we receive a direct message of Jesus that says: Blessed are you sitting at home in this Zoom worship space, blessed are you that are working in the food industry, blessed are you nurses, physicians, and all healthcare workers, blessed are you first responders, blessed are you government officials, blessed are you clergy, teachers, blessed are you parents, blessed are you students, blessed are you that are at home practicing social distance because through all this that you do you testify that I am your Lord and your God — and you show to those you serve that you believe in me. Blessed because you have been able to see the resurrected Jesus in disguise in your neighbor, in the sick, in the needy, in the nurse, in the physician, in the cleaning personnel, in your elderly, in your students, in your teachers, in your clergy, in yourself. Blessed are you, because of your belief, Jesus is preached as the Risen Lord of this pandemic, and during these difficult moments in our history. God bless us and allow us to be in the same awe that Thomas experience today. May God bless you and keep us all in the astonishment of the resurrection!!! Amen!
Sem. Edgar Otero, BS
Second Sunday of Easter
April 19, 2020