Being vulnerable usually makes us hide. We don't like to expose ourselves and yet the resurrection story has opened us to that story again and again. Two weeks ago we started with Mary weeping in the garden, assuming she had found the gardener. Wrapped in her grief she was truly, desperately vulnerable. Jesus knew this and spoke her name in order to get her to recognize him. Unbinding her from her grief. Making himself vulnerable in order to be recognized and known.
Last week we had the disciples hiding in an upper room for fear if being killed by the same people who killed Jesus. So Jesus comes to them and says peace and shows them his wounds. Showing them their fear is okay, they can be hidden, and he can be vulnerable and remind them of his scars so maybe in and through their fear they may feel empowered to be vulnerable also.
In this same story we have Thomas who wasn't there and doubts the news that Jesus appeared to them. He won't believe until he has touched his wounds. Instead of punishing Thomas for this bold statement Jesus appears to him too. Asking him to touch him, being vulnerable and Thomas responds to this without touching.
All the good books written have flawed main characters that only see their weaknesses, vulnerabilities and not their strengths. We seem to forget this. We view vulnerability as if it is something to be avoided, something that shows ultimate performance. Just think of the first time Hilary Clinton ran for president, as reporters bothered her so much that she cried and was labeled as a weak, emotional woman. Vulnerability is not a value. Yet we are shown it in faith as the ultimate thing to do.
This morning we take a bold step holding a service with mixed traditions, mixed theologies, mixed traditions and yet we have decided to be vulnerable. We have decided that holding onto our differences hurts us and so in spite of fears, doubts, or protecting our stances we have come together. Because we have realized that the most important part of faith is believing in the risen Christ. Because we are willing to be servants to one another. Because we are willing to risk encountering Jesus in many ways. This is the way we are the body of Christ to the world.