The room was dark, claustrophobic. Faces, flushed with awe, and voices, lilting with eagerness, undulated across the room. A man sat in the corner, hidden from view. The awful sounds, noises even fastened doors could not contain, crowded him. Like a knife, they pricked his skin. A chasm had cleaved between him and the others.
O, that dusky afternoon! The shadows of it clung to his clothes and to his eyes. Even now, he could see him. His body, scarred, contorted. His lovely hands, hands that had healed and blessed, torn by metal. His feet. “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the messenger who brings good news!” Yet, scarlet blood fell from them.
His side, mauled like a bird on the road. An animal.
“My God, my God why have you forsaken me?” The words had cloaked the man’s soul, touched his lips. He had collapsed into a night of endless shadow, sustained by those who had also seen and lost.
But now, there was no one. He still existed in the darkness that the others had left. They had seen, they had spoken. Why had not he?
“My God, my God why have you forsaken me?”
The room stirred, contracting like fibers in a woven scarf. The oscillation of a miracle, space made and entered by the divine where no space existed.
A figure emerged from the crowd, lit by the faint lights. “A vision,” the man thought. A figment that had haunted his dreams entering the waking world. But the voice —
Transfixed by the figure’s eyes, eyes that were not hollow, not lifeless but full, the man stretched forth his hand. To touch. To trace the scars, which hollowed his skin.
It was he.
He was near.
I empathise with Thomas’s desire for visibility, his longing to touch Christ. I think it is very human for one to desire the tangible. The days following Christ’s death was a period of deep trauma and loss for the disciples, which made his re-appearance even more beautiful.
Even though we cannot see him and even when we feel isolated, God is near.
Shalom, my friends.