Beloved Members and Friends of St. Martin’s,
I’ve always found the story of Thomas, which we will hear as the gospel this weekend, to be comforting. If even one of the apostles refused to believe without seeing, then perhaps we all can be forgiven for our occasional doubts.
Thomas is exactly like one of us post-Enlightenment types. We are all like Thomas, if we are really honest with ourselves. We all want proof. The author of John knows this, and this story is meant to encourage Christians from John’s time until now: those who have not seen, but take the leap of faith anyway.
It’s like Paul Simon sang in the song “Proof” from 1986’s Graceland album:
Proof Some people gonna call you up Tell you something that you already know Proof Sane people go crazy on you Say “No man that was not The deal we made I got to go, I got to go” Faith Faith is an island in the setting sun But proof, yes Proof is the bottom line for everyone.
-- Paul Simon, “Proof,” from the album Graceland (1986)
The author of John knows this, and this story is meant to encourage Christians from John’s time until now: those who have not seen, but take the leap of faith anyway. We live in a time two millennia after these events. Of course we have doubts- we have even more reason than Thomas. If he can doubt and emerge the stronger for it, so of course can we. Further, given our distance in time and culturally from the events depicted in the gospels, it is only through engaging our faith through questions and doubts that we can seriously engage our faith. Just as a muscle only gets stronger when stressed, so too our faith.
As we remember that Easter is a season and not simply a solitary day, may we listen to the stories of the disciples encountering the risen Jesus, and ourselves have faith enough to unlock the doors of our hearts, and look for him everywhere.
In Christ’s love,
Image: Hildreth Meiere, Doubting Thomas mosaic detail, from the Chapel of the Resurrection, Washington National Cathedral, 1951.