MORE FROM ALL SAINTS
Meditations From All Saints
The Rev. Deacon Heather K. Sisk
Meditation for Sunday, April 11, 2021
The reading from this week is the post resurrection scene in which Jesus returns to the disciples while they are still hiding out in Jerusalem.
The disciples have locked themselves into the upstairs room where they held the last supper. They are afraid. And now Jesus appears bringing with him the gift of the Holy Spirit (which is the gift of Peace). This is a profound passage about the gift of Peace. But it is most widely remembered for the phrase it has engendered: “Don’t be a Doubting Thomas.” Thomas was not with the disciples when Jesus returned the first time. He reacts with disbelief or rather defensively to the story they have recounted.
Thomas invites us into the scene so that we can be there too. Thomas is our way in. Thomas means twin. And in some ways he mirrors us. Scripture refers to him as, “Thomas Didymus, also called the twin.” Both Didymus and Thomas actually mean Twin. He helps us into the story by mirroring us - and the way we may feel.
Why God, did you reveal yourself to everyone but me? Why come when I was not here? Why not me? It seems to be a real plea - a real question we may have.
God, here I am in my suffering and grief - and you have revealed yourself to my siblings… but why not me? Isn’t this our own question? We can feel that pain of rejection at different times in our lives. Each of us may feel it at different times and in different ways. Most everyone is feeling it a bit now during Covid as we have been isolated from one another, grieving, and afraid over this past year:
Why God have you given hope and Peace and faith to some of us? And right now I can’t conjur up any. This is part of our human journey. And Thomas allows us to feel it and say it openly to God.
Jesus says touch my wounds. I know your human suffering. I am with you even in your woundedness. It is so very intimate.
He says, you too - even those who can’t be with us now are blessed. We may lean on the Holy Spirit in the knowledge and understanding that each time we hold onto the gift of Peace through these trials we will come out with more wisdom and with more wholeness for offering that healing intimacy to one another.
The Rev. Deacon Heather K. Sisk
Meditation for Sunday, March 21, 2021
Your very first name is Love.
Surrender to that identity.
This surrender is what Jesus is speaking of when he says follow me and give up your worldly life. How do we start? We know it; We can quote it: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
This sentiment is alive and flowing in nearly every major and minor religion on Earth.
This is the ground we share.
Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
When Jesus compares himself and us to the grain of wheat, he doesn’t just speak of our potential. He is speaking of our true identity. We are the Beloved. Jesus speaks of Love. We are that seed. When he speaks of the earth he speaks of the ground of love, in which we “live and move and have our being.” When he speaks of dying, he speaks of surrendering to love. When he speaks of the fruit, he speaks of the love that flows and feeds others through this dynamic and life-giving cycle.
In the Gospel this week Jesus asks God, that his life and death may be to the glory of God. And God responds, “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” The glorification of God in Jesus is from the beginning as the Beloved. We too are made in the image of God. Jesus as our great model, the one who draws all people to this mutuality and reconciling love of healing relationships, teaches us to surrender to that identity. “Follow me” is to be a living icon to Christ; an icon of healing and forgiveness; an icon of love for self and neighbor.
Jesus speaks to us of our earliest commandments: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Yes, we can quote it, but can we quote it by heart as they say?
From the portion of our Hebrew scripture, God promises to us a covenant that is literally written on our hearts. God says,
I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, “Know the Lord,” for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.
God forgives. God surrenders to us. As our tradition teaches us God is Love, self surrendered.
Practice exploring your heart of belonging; of forgiveness.
Surrender. You are already Love.