Daily Devotion, April 27
Read John 20. 19-31
I have been spending the last couple of Sunday mornings attending our children’s and youth Sunday School classes. Being with our children and their teachers has been inspirational. It has given me hope for the church. Here are a couple of things I have learned.
Invitations are important. I have known that the classes are meeting on Zoom. I have to confess that it never occurred to me to participate until Pamela Garside-Meyers offered me an invitation to join the Kindergarten- grade 2 class and then this week, the 3rd-5th grade and Middle School classes. Attending the classes has become one of the most heartwarming experiences of my week. Who might you invite to attend worship with you or one of our classes?
Our Sunday School teachers are the best! Nancy Mathews, Lisa Kiesner, and Kari Hammelink have been the teachers in the classes I have attended. They have made sure that the children have their lesson books and craft supplies at home. They spend time talking with each of the children, preparing lessons, celebrating birthdays, making sure everyone is included. The teachers offer such faith-filled leadership! In the book of Acts, the disciple Philip met the Ethiopian Eunuch reading from the prophet Isaiah. Philip said to the Eunuch “Do you understanding what you are reading?” And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me.” Acts. 8.30-31 Our teachers are amazing at guiding our young persons in faith.
Our children and youth are incredible!! They come to class eager. They are ready to participate. They know one another’s names. They ask questions of one another, take turns, and answer the teacher’s questions. They pray for each other and do their homework. The homework for the 3rd-5th grade class was to do three kind things for other people. Each student reported back. Ephesians 4.32 (NIV) says “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ forgave you.”
The lesson for the 3rd-5th grade class was from the gospel of John. It was one of the resurrection stories. The disciples had gone back to the Upper Room and locked the doors after the tomb was found empty. They were afraid. Jesus came and stood among them and said: “Peace be with you.” He showed them his hands and side so they would know it was Jesus. Jesus then empowered them to go out in the world and continue his mission. The disciple Thomas was not with the others when Jesus came. Thomas said he would not believe that Jesus was alive until he saw Jesus for himself. The following week, Jesus came to Thomas.
There are many wonderful parts of this story but one of them is the way that Jesus values each of our needs. Jesus didn’t reprimand Thomas for not believing his friends. Jesus was willing to come to Thomas, himself, and offer to him what he needed by showing him his hands and side.
The story is about believing. What I believe is that Jesus values each of us as he did Thomas. Thomas needed Jesus to come to him in a particular way. Jesus showed up. Jesus is willing to meet each of us in our individual need, doubts, questions, and joys too. When Jesus came to Thomas he said, ‘Peace be with you.’ It was an opening, putting Thomas at ease. When we reach out to Jesus with our needs, Jesus first comes to offer us peace, opening the door to a deeper and more important conversation as we take that next step in our belief.
O God, may we trust you with our needs. May we trust that you will come to us, just as you did to Thomas. Today, O God, we ask that you might ______________________(fill in your particular need, question, request, thanksgiving) , so we can come to a deeper belief in you. Amen.