Sunday, April 7, 2013

Courageous Doubting

When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you." After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you." When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained."

But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord." But he said to them, "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."

A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you." Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe." Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!" Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe."

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name. John 20:19-31

Years ago, when we moved into the rectory in Middletown, Delaware, the only usable phone we had was a rotary dial hard-wired into the kitchen wall. Our youngest at 8, could not figure out how to use it. In her life time she had not had any experience with rotary dial phones. The world of communication had changed and she had no experience to help her understand. She tried pushing the numbers but could not make a call. Sometimes we are faced with circumstances that we cannot understand and changes that take us by surprise.

Thomas was out when the other disciples encountered Jesus. They were a terrified bunch, locked up and hidden away from the world. Jesus came to them, in the midst of their terror and showed himself to them. When Thomas returned and they shared their experience with him, he responded honestly. He did not have any experience in his life that would help him have that faith. Jesus returned and brought him faith in the flesh. Faith is a gift from God and our human doubt is the portal to God's loving response. And in Thomas, we are invited to be honest about our need and our lack, so that God might provide for us, faith in the flesh.

Today I ask God to give me an extra measure of faith. There are many changes ahead, and some uncharted territory to be faced. We all need to be willing to express our needs and our doubts so that God may bring us the gifts we need, faith in the flesh, so that we might share the experience of God's loving presence.

The Collect

Almighty and everlasting God, who in the Paschal mystery established the new covenant of reconciliation: Grant that all who have been reborn into the fellowship of Christ's Body may show forth in their lives what they profess by their faith; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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