Saturday, 26 April 2014

Easter 2 John 20:19-31 Doubting Thomas!

Like Thomas we are often in the wrong place at the wrong time and because of it we miss out on something special and we could kick ourselves for being so stupid. 
The disciples told him about how they had seen Jesus since his death. But they were scared. These disciples had so much faith that they were locked in an upper room for fear of the Jews for weeks. Jesus had breathed on them! And imparted the Holy Spirit, the breath of God. And he gives them his peace, that Shalom that encompasses all we could ever need, the peace that passes all understanding. 

Soon after he appears through closed doors when Thomas is with them. He asks Thomas to feel his wounds in his hands and side. He moves Thomas from doubt to faith. This could be the end of Johns gospel and this doubting disciple was so transformed by his experience that later he is thought by some to have Christianised India. Some doubter!
The story of Thomas doubting is one of a number of resurrection stories. In all of them Jesus appears. In all of them he gives his peace and in all of them the setting is in the context of eating. We could extend that to say it is Eucharistic. When we eat bread and drink wine Christs body is reconstituted, brought to life and we encounter Christs resurrection.

All of us have times when we doubt the existence of God. A Frenchwoman I knew said I don’t believe in God but I shout at him now and then! Even Job doubted. It seems to be part of our human condition that when things go wrong or maybe we get very comfortable we doubt God. If a member of the family or our loved one is ill or even dies we may doubt God exists because of the pain the suffering and loss we feel. If we experience a relationship breakup or even divorce we may doubt God  and of course some peoples response to dreadful events like the missing Malaysian plane or the South Korean ferry, is to ask how can you believe in a loving God when bad things like this happen? Doubt is the flipside to belief.

The Psalmist cries "My God why have you hidden your face from me" and Jesus from the cross cries "My God why have you forsaken me?" 

An experience of God however is contagious and doubt turns to faith. 

Today many of us are hidden behind closed doors maybe of our faith or of our minds or maybe physically- because of fear. We doubt God is with us and instead are prisoners to ourselves. Others tell us that God is with us even in our own locked spaces. Gods Spirit is with us everwhere and in everything we go through on our journey of life, the ups and the downs, the joys and the sadness. But we not feel it.

It is only the Holy Spirit that can convince us in ways beyond my imagination that God is with us even though we do not at this time feel the marks of the crucified body of Jesus. Unlike Thomas we cant feel the wounds in Jesus body. Our faith depends on things unseen and unfelt. Maybe at times of doubt others have to carry us too.

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