Posted on Apr 16, 2020

19 April 2020

I’ve always been struck by the physicalness of this Gospel.

            Jesus enters a locked room, shows the disciples his wounds, breathes on them.

            He returns again and Thomas puts his hand in his wounds—Touches him.

We are bodily people.

We know there is more to us than our bodies. Ironically, we know that because of our bodies.

This is a hard gospel to hear as we are practicing social distancing.

We cannot touch each other. We cannot even come close to each other.

It might lead us to believe that we are only our bodies because of the emphasis on our bodies.

But it does not have to be so.

I’d like to share a poem that arrived on my desk this week from St. John’s Abbey.

It is written by Lynn Ungar.

What if you thought of it

As the Jews consider the Sabbath—

The most sacred of times?

Cease from travel. Cease from buying and selling.

Give up, just for now, On trying to make the world

Different than it is.

Sing.  Pray.  Touch only those To whom you commit your life.

Center down.

And when your body has become still,

Reach out with your heart.

Know that we are connected

In ways that are terrifying and beautiful.

(You could hardly deny it now.)

Know that our lives

Are in one another’s hands.

(Surely that has become clear.)

Do not reach out your hands.

Reach out your heart.

Reach out your words.

Reach out all the tendrils

Of compassion that move, invisibly,

Where we cannot touch.

Promise this world your love—

For better or for worse,

In sickness and in health,

So long as we all shall live.