I know it’s not Thomas. He’s the most paranoid of us all. Adamant we stay in lockdown until it’s safe again. Until everything dies down (if you’ll excuse the pun). Until everyone forgets about Jesus, and our lives can get back to normal.
As if that will ever happen! I doubt any of us can even remember what ‘normal’ is, or why we used to think it was okay. There’s a lot we used to settle for that seems so pointless after the life we’ve known with Jesus. It’s going to be a long, hard journey back to normal.
In the meantime, here we are. In lockdown. Not in the room where we shared that last meal with Jesus – there’s no telling who Judas blabbed to about that place. Too many memories there anyway. It’s still too raw.
No, this is somewhere they’d never think to look. A place a friend of a friend of a friend offered up, with no way to trace it to Jesus or any of us.
A good-sized spot in the circumstances – attitude of gratitude and all that. A huge room, up some stairs round the back, inconspicuous. Location, location, location, they say. Well, this is the perfect under-the-radar location.
Yet we’re still scared. Because what happened to Jesus could happen to any of us.
Which is why Thomas insisted on the ‘secret knock’. Unless we hear that, we’re not to open the door; we stay quiet in our lockdown bubble. Remember the rules: Stay safe, stay home. The life you save might be your own!
Knock, knock, knock.
Nope. That’s not it either.
You can hear a pin drop in here. We’re all holding our breath, praying it’s just some random local who’s noticed we hardly ever go out and thinks they can make a quick shekel by flogging off some cheap toilet paper or hand wash.
Anyone but those Jewish leaders. When I think how I used to look up to them. But now? It’s clear they’d sell their own mothers if they thought it would give them a bit more power, a little more glory.
Although … if it’s someone selling food, I wouldn’t say no to some deep-fried matzo or some chickpea fries. My stomach’s growling so loud they can probably hear it on the other side of that door. Multiply that by ten more tums and they’re bound to rumble us soon. (Oops, excuse that pun too!)
Scratch that. Peter’s not thinking about food. He’s still beating himself up about not backing Jesus when he had the chance. Down in the courtyard, around that fire.
It’s all he talks about. When he talks, that is. Three times he lied. Said he’d never even heard of Jesus. Keeps telling us how much he regrets his cowardice now Jesus is dead.
It’s going to hurt, living with the guilt. But that’s the thing. At least Peter’s still living! And that’s nothing to be sneezed at. Not these days.
Goodness, I hope that’s not Thomas! It would be just like him to forget the very rhythm he drummed into us. (Badum tish – thank you, I’m here all week.)
I say Thomas is ‘paranoid’, but that’s not fair. ‘Cautious’ would be a better word. ‘Strategic’ even. He always needs to know how things will fit together. And definitely not one for surprises.
So here we are. Huddled at floor level, keeping away from the windows until it’s safe to sneak out of Jerusalem.
I don’t know what we’d been expecting, but it certainly wasn’t this.
Not so many days ago the crowd was cheering us. Well, cheering Jesus. But we were in on it, excited by it. Daring to imagine some brave new world. A new Jerusalem, a new kingdom. The literal rule of God and all that.
I guess a little imagination’s not always a good thing, is it? Better to dream small. At least you can live with yourself then. At least you can go out on the streets and wander through the crowds without putting your life at risk. Ah, the good old days.
Hey, what’s that? … What’s going on in the corner?
Peter, keep your voice down, mate! They’ll hear you over in the temple at this rate.
Anyway, what’s all the noise about? Who’s over there with you? I’m guarding the door, and no one came in that way.
Whoa! surely that’s not …?
OMG, if I wasn’t seeing this with my own eyes, I wouldn’t believe it. I mean, who would? This is so much bigger than anything I could have dreamed or imagined!
It’s you, Jesus. It’s really you!
In the flesh.
Peace, you say? If there’s anything I need right now, it’s that. You still know just the right thing to say, Jesus.
Knock, knock, knock.
Knock, knock, knock, knock.
Finally! Only Thomas could come up with a rhythm that complicated. No doubt it’s him this time.
– Don’t worry Jesus, I’ll get it!
Thomas, wait till you see who’s here! You won’t believe it …
Christina Tyson has been a Salvation Army officer (minister) for almost 30 years.For 16 years she was involved in Salvation Army communications, and now works with her husband as pastors of a Salvation Army church and community centre in Newtown, Wellington.