Saint Gregory of Nazianzus (a 4th Century bishop) said, “What has not been assumed has not been redeemed.” I thought about that quote when Rev. Pietila shared the insight that Thomas’ primary interest was to see that the Jesus he knew before and during the crucifixion was also the Jesus of the resurrection (John 20:19-31). Thomas may have understood that had the resurrected Jesus not had scars, our wounds would not be redeemed. If so, he anticipated St. Gregory’s point that Jesus was fully human, as well as fully divine, that we have a relatable God who chose to know (assume) the fullness of our humanity in order to redeem it.
Such an assurance helps us put into perspective the minor inconveniences of life, such as a memorable Sunday morning with insufficient electricity. More so, it helps us cope with major griefs, such as another murderous attack on people gathered for worship. God took away our accusation that, “You have no idea what this broken world is really like” by joining us in it and experiencing the brutality of it. God also took away our accusation that, “It’s all hopeless” by resurrecting Jesus (whose hands and sides reflect how well he knows the cruelty of this world and the work he did to redeem it).
The 23 teenagers who stood in Central’s sanctuary yesterday professed their faith in this redeeming Lord. They didn’t require electricity at capacity or a flawless worship service to confirm their faith. After months of focused preparation and a lifetime of families and churches getting them to this point, they stood and said aloud their trust in and commitment to the Lord who assumed the best, worst, and all this life has to offer, willingly redeeming it for us. It was a joyful continuation of the Easter celebration and a reminder that God keeps on doing great things among Central’s church family.