Two churches in Moscow. One Baptist, one Orthodox. One buried in an inner-city neighborhood, one sitting out in a muddy suburb. Neither one with any exterior beauty. Yet both are indelible chapters in my faith story.
When my children were small, the mommy in me always played tug-of-war with the minister in me. Often, while sitting in an evening meeting, I would dream of being home, curled up in bed, reading to my little ones. And reading to the little one in me.
The texts for the third Sunday of Easter are not for the fainthearted. They are about pounding hearts, wounded hearts and burning hearts. And they invite us to encounter the living Christ in the heart of who we are. Kathleen Norris and others remind us that "to believe" is not a matter of the mind, but a matter of the heart. For what we "believe" is what we "give our heart to."
When I was in seminary, Doubting Thomas was my soul mate. Jesus kept "appearing" to my fellow students within the rich stories of the Christian tradition. But like Thomas, I never seemed to be there when Jesus arrived. Why? Because the absurdity of the resurrection rumor had sent me away. I could not see the mark on Jesus' hands or touch the wound in his side.