In today's Gospel John reports Jesus breathing on the Apostles and Disciples after the Resurrection. This is reflective of God's breathing to Adam and Eve-the symbols of human creation. Jesus "breath" is a sign of the new life given to all of us at our Baptism. We are to live in the light of Jesus love in all of our interactions. Thomas' interaction is a sign that we are to live as Resurrected people not only in our minds but concretely in our daily lives and actions. This is fundamental to Christian thinking and action
The church with this action plan began to grow, not among Jews as much as among pagans. Pagans had a following of mainly house gods where the follower was always attempting to please the god. Christians came to them with the truth of an understanding of one God who is Universal and who cares and loves all. It is in this light we can understand that the new "breath" from Jesus trans formed the Disciples so that by 300 years later, this group which started with about 20 people had 30 million followers and were established in the Roman Empire. They understood that people were craving a faith centered in care, love and reconciliation. This is the central message of Jesus about the true nature of God for all people.
Today, at this Easter, we need to keep this truth about God in our own interactions. We are progressively inclusive, forgiving and loving. We live in a suspicious world where the Christian "brand" has been damaged by greed, narrowness and exclusion. There has been abuse perpetrated in the church of all types. As we as members of the new progressive breath of God, given to us by Jesus at the Resurrection reach out to others we must be mindful of recent history. It is my belief that as Progressive Christians, we can reach out and be embraced by folks who love God but have been hurt in the past. We are called to love others as we love ourselves as members of the Easter community of new life.