2 Easter.A.17 Children’s Homily
The Rev. Melanie McCarley
I’ve brought with me a book that some of you might have read. It’s called Alexander and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. Have any of your read it? Well, it’s a story about a day in the life of a little boy named Alexander. And, from the moment he wakes up, things are not going his way. As he gets up, the chewing gum that was in his mouth the night before, ends up in his hair. He trips on his skateboard and drops his sweater in the sink while the water is running—and it just goes downhill from there. Alexander has a rotten day. In fact, his day is so bad he thinks he might have to leave and go far away to Australia—where things might be better.
Today I’d like to tell you another story about a person who was having a terrible day. Let’s call this story Thomas and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. Our story begins after the crucifixion. Jesus has died, and his body was placed in a tomb. Everyone who loved Jesus was very sad. In fact, they were so sad they thought they’d never be happy again. What’s more, the disciples were afraid. They had seen what had happened to Jesus, and they were fearful that the same people who crucified Jesus would come looking for them. And so the disciples gathered together in a room and locked the door so they could be sad and afraid and hide together. All the disciples, that is, except Thomas.
The Bible doesn’t tell us why Thomas wasn’t with the other disciples when Jesus first came and appeared to him—but for some reason, Thomas missed out. And so Thomas, who was already sad and afraid, came back to the disciple’s hide-out and what did he find, but all of his friends—who weren’t sad, like himself, but happy. They told him they had seen Jesus. And Thomas thought to himself: “My friends have lost their minds. They are so sad and frightened they aren’t seeing clearly.” And Thomas, who was already sad—became even more despondent. Then, he became angry and said: “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.” And that was that. The disciples were happy to have seen Jesus, but Thomas was still sad, afraid—and frustrated with his friends.
But this is not the end of the story. What happens next? Who comes? What does he do? ……
That’s right. Jesus does come, and Thomas is able to believe. He moves from being sad to being filled with joy. But there’s more to this story than this. Jesus gives Thomas and the rest of the disciples’ a mission (a job). That task is to bring this joyful news to everyone else.
We all have bad days. Days like Alexander—and maybe even days like Thomas’ as well.
Sometimes, on those days it helps to remember that even when things are going in the wrong direction, God’s love still surrounds us—even if we can’t see it, and even if we might doubt it.
I’ve brought something else with me this morning. Soon, this will be given to Calvin Shattuck, who will be baptized a little later in our service. Do you know what it is?.....
This is a Baptismal Certificate. This piece of paper is a reminder that Calvin has received the sacrament of new life through holy baptism. Some of you have certificates like this as well. Have you ever seen your baptismal certificate? Then you go home, ask your parents to dig it out. Maybe it’s in a scrapbook or a box where we keep special things. Take it out, and put it where you can see it.
Someday, when you have a day as terrible, rotten and no good as Alexander or Thomas—you can take a moment to look at that certificate and say to yourself that even if you don’t feel like you’ve had a good day—you’re still loved by God, and that’s a love you can never lose. You can count on that—and that is something that will always make us feel better. Of that, there is no doubt.