Discussion Questions or Journaling
- Do you find that you are more focused on Good News or Bad News recently?
- How do you think we balance the joy of Easter with our need, to be honest about the bad news and dangers that we live in today?
- What has some good news been from your week? What has been the bad news?
Have you seen “Some Good News” by John Krazinski? (If not, you should watch it!) He set up at a makeshift news desk to tell the world about the good things happening in the midst of so much bad. He talks about the bravery of healthcare workers, teachers going the extra mile for students while still social distancing. He shares some laughs and brings friends into the mix, interviewing The Office co-star Steve Carell. He is also honest about the bad stuff, acknowledging that there’s pain in the world. But in the midst of fear, confusion, and pain, he points us all back to what is good.
Like a fresh breath of air into these troubled times, Some Good News is just what everyone needs.
Read from John 20:19-31 Use your favorite translation, I often will read several different ones for a more complete understanding.
The disciples are locked in their meeting house together, fearful and desperate. Sound familiar? Like us today, the stresses of physical distancing and the climate of fear, Christ’s disciples are in a similar situation. They are completely lost, nothing makes sense, and they don’t know what is coming next. How can anything go back to normal after everything they’ve just experienced? They’ve followed Jesus for the last few years. They witnessed miracles. A best friend betrayed Jesus. He was brutally murdered in front of them. Their lives are at risk if they are recognized. They are right to be scared.
It’s in this place of fear that Jesus comes to them. Through their locked doors, through their fear, through their worry for whatever will happen next, Christ comes to them and says, “Peace be with you.”
Christ’s peace in this situation is a curious thing, it changes nothing, and yet it changes everything. The disciples already knew that he has risen. They have heard this from the women who were the first to find the tomb empty. And yet they hide in fear. Jesus says “Peace be with you” but the threat of recognition and death still remains. Their trama at the betrayal by a friend and horror at the crucifixion they witnessed remains. Even after Jesus comes to them, they lock themselves away in fear.
The disciples tell Thomas, when he returns, that they were witnesses to the Resurrection. The resurrection peace changes something in this group. Even if it takes a while for them to leave the safety of their locked home, the disciples’ lives will never be the same again. They have received the Spirit of the living God. Christ’s peace changes nothing, and yet it changes everything.
The Peace of Christ is not a magic trick, a supernatural, or a get out of jail free card that just makes all bad things go away. This peace surpasses all understanding. It is a defiant hope that all things will be made new in the love of Christ and that death, fear, despair, and betrayal will never have the last word.
Knowing that Christ is truly present with us, shut up in our homes or when we make a dangerous journey out, does nothing to change that COVID-19 is deadly for many. We are right to take the necessary precautions. Christ’s peace does not dismiss our doubts and fears but acknowledges them. We need the story of the fearful disciples and Thomas’ moment of doubt as we figure out how to live as followers of Christ.
Christ’s peace acknowledges our pain, but it doesn’t leave us there. Christ’s peace is making all things new. Christ’s peace is the good news in the midst of the bad news. Even if we can not see it yet, we know that Christ’s peace has come to us before and it will again and again, in good times and bad, “so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.”
More Discussion Questions or Journaling
- Do you have doubts and fears? Share some of them with ANYONE
- What does it say about Jesus that he meets the disciples in the midst of their fear and weakness?
- How can we understand Christ’s peace in the midst of COVID-19?
Want an activity to go deeper?
Use conversation with a partner. Someone in your family or small group or, email Heather and she’ll set you up with someone. Share with one another the Good News, Bad News, and Peace/Hope of what you are experiencing right now. Be honest and thoughtful, especially when acknowledging the Bad News. What does it mean that Christ’s love is big enough to hold your Bad News too?
If you are not ready to share with someone else, start a Journal this week that is honest about the Good News, the Bad News, and the signs of Peace/Hope you see in your life.
Adopted by Faith Lens
Closing Prayer is from Ephesians 3:14-21
My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth. I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit—not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength—that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God. God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us. AMEN