When the risen Jesus visits his disciples his visit is characterised by several key elements of his overall ministry:
First, he brings peace – although they are startled and afraid at first, he brings his friends a peace of heart that they have not experienced for many days, and which will stay with them for ever.
Second, he shares food with them – hospitality and sharing are central to the gospel, from the feeding of the five thousand to the Last Supper, and when we meet in Jesus’ name for Holy Communion we are continuing this tradition of gospel hospitality. Is there hospitality in our worship, in our life as a church?
Third, he brings joy – being in the presence of Christ should bring us joy, even amid the reality of whatever complex troubles of anxieties we have brought with us. Is there joy in our faith? In our life as a community of faith? Are we really able to share one other’s joy?
Fourth, he brings the evidence of his own suffering, the marks on his hands, feet and side, showing that he truly has walked the path of life as we do, and that there is no place so dark or so painful that we have to go there alone; he will always go with us. Are we willing to weep with those who weep, as well as to laugh with those who laugh? Are we willing to be vulnerable, to admit our own woundedness?
May we, as a church, as Christ’s body on earth, seek to live out these gospel values in all our activities.