John 20:19-31 - Being “Out There”
I have always liked Thomas. Unlike the other disciples who locked themselves in a room in fear, Thomas was “out there” somewhere. Thomas reminds me that, if I truly want to touch Jesus, to know that God is real and alive and at work, the best place for me to be is “out there” – showing up and sitting with the disenfranchised in my community, touching the pain I find, doing what I can do to participate in works of reconciliation and healing. When I try to sequester myself and my children away from the world's pain, I am hiding in that room in fear right along with the other disciples.
How do I participate in Jesus’ work of reconciliation and healing? What can one person do? I don't know. I can choose to leave the locked rooms and gated communities that are my perceptions, my judgments, and my fears about people who are different from me. I can choose to see them – actually see them rather than pretend they do not exist - as people rather than as issues or problems. I can choose to take a deep breath, and begin to “show up” in those places in my community where the marginalized and disenfranchised live (or attend school) simply to get to know them, to build a relationship. I can choose to love and respect “the other” as good creations of God. I can choose to listen to their stories. I can choose to practice deep, respectful listening, and let any actions I take emerge from my authentic listening rather than my perception of what they need.