Eight days later, his [Jesus’] disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you.” (John 20:26 ESV)

Christ is risen! He is risen, indeed! Here at International Lutheran Church, we continue our meditation on the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Each year on the Second Sunday of Easter we reflect on the events of both the night of that “First Day” of the week, and the “Eighth Day” following as the disciples are gathered in the locked room for fear of what would happen next.

In this amazing age of multi-tasking and digital identities a new fear has emerged. It is simply called FOMO or Fear Of Missing Out. Like all fear, it can lock us up and shut us down. But to be honest, it is actually nothing new. Thomas experienced the debilitating effects of FOMO on that “First Day” of the week. For whatever reason, he was absent when our Lord appeared that night and breathed upon His disciples to send them out. Thomas’ reaction was the ultimate statement of FOMO or antifaith –“Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.” (John 20:25)

While we often focus on labeling both the man and his reaction by calling him Doubting Thomas, don’t we all wish we could be there in that room and see the Lord risen from the dead? Don’t we all feel the effects of FOMO when we hear how the early church, moved by the Holy Spirit, shared all things in common and cared for the needs of all in such a way that no one had a need? (Acts 4:32-35) We can easily feel and express this very fear that our limited presence creates with Thomas’ same words – “I will never believe!” But if we focus only on Thomas or on ourselves, that is all we ever will see – FOMO!

This is why we are children of the “Eighth Day.” Because this is the Day – the “New Day” that is beyond all time and space as it is filled with the presence of our risen Lord and God. Jesus’ response to our anti-faith, our FOMO, is His peace, His very presence. See the wounds, His side and hands. This is our Lord and God. He is not dead but alive. Here He gives Himself, His Spirit to us in full measure that we would be filled with faith. We often think of faith as an action that happens inside of ourselves, but here we see how only Jesus can raise Thomas and us from antifaith to faith, from unbelief to belief. From sin and death to life eternal and forgiveness unending. Jesus comes to us to bring us faith and hope and peace.

Yes, the resurrection of Jesus Christ changes everything. It alters our perception of time and space. We are not missing out, but rather we are the very location of His work and action. His grace comes to you and me in the Breaking of this Bread, in the Blessing of this Cup. His hands and feet and side tell the story of His love for us. His peace fills us with His Spirit, the Spirit that moves us to care and see the needs of others right around us and our calling to share this faith with all. Again, on this “Eighth Day,” the Holy Spirit sent by Jesus makes manifest His presence with us as we receive the eternal life that is in Him by faith. Christ is risen! He is risen, indeed! Alleluia!

Pastor Carl