Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.) (John 20:8-9, NIV)
Then Jesus said to Thomas, "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe." Thomas said to him, "My Lord and my God!" Then Jesus told him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." (John 20:27-29, NIV)
It's the day after Easter. (The "first Monday of Easter," for those of you who love liturgical calendar references...)
The flowers and banners still stand in the sanctuary. Sheet music for "Jesus Christ is Risen Today!" still sit on the organ bench. But the trumpets have been packed away, and even the echoes of the hymns and the congregations shouting "He is risen indeed!" have died away. And we are left with these two poignant images: the disciples who still did not understand, and the disciple who had trouble believing.
The world is not that different, today, than it was on that first Resurrection Monday, is it?
There are still people in the church who wonder why Jesus had to die to make this life complete. There are still people in the world who say, "Hey, unless this Jesus guy shows up here, and speaks to ME, how do I know he exists?"
In Easter version 1.0, the answer is simple. Jesus appeared to the apostles, to the women, in the Upper Room, and to hundreds of people around Judea. People saw Jesus, heard his encouragement for them, and his call to reach and teach others what he had taught them.
Perhaps - just perhaps - the answer is the same for us in the light of Easter 2007.
Perhaps we, as followers of a risen Savior, need to ensure that people see Jesus - in us. Perhaps we are the ones to make Christ's loving, caring, healing presence known in the world. Perhaps God's hands and feet need to be seen at the ends of our arms and legs. Perhaps the light needs to shine on the Cross, and the empty tomb, and not on us as the Church. Perhaps the doors of our churches need to be flung open as wide as the tomb was - so that the world at large can join us sinners on the inside, and come to know what we know about our own sins - and about redemption.
God, this day, let your Son's eternal life be seen in my life. Let my actions reflect the light of your love into the world. Let me live this day in the light of the empty tomb. And may each of us, as followers of Christ, be someone that will let the world see your good news: "He is RISEN! He is risen INDEED!"