This past Sunday the gospel story was about doubting Thomas. This is one of those stories we all know by heart. Jesus has risen from the dead, some of his group have seen him, he appears to them behind a locked door and Thomas (The Twin) who wasn’t there for the sighting doesn’t believe it. Familiar story. Jesus, of course, returns and invites Thomas to put his hands into the wounds in his body; Thomas then believes and worships.
If I had been giving the message this week (we had Bishop Brooke-Davidson on tape) I would have spent my time on Thomas. And I would have suggested that Thomas is me; which means, in my mind, Thomas is you too.
Few of us have been lucky enough to live our lives without doubt. Wait…nobody has lived their life completely free of doubt. It may have been doubt that wasn’t spiritual, but really, can you live your life completely trusting everything you have always believed is true? No. Not by a long shot. I could take space here to outline all those times in our public life we have believed something only to find it to be completely the opposite. Surely, we have all been lied to and had to admit later that we no longer believe the lie.
But for Thomas, this was different than just not believing some politician. He was saying he didn’t believe the central message of the Christian Gospel-that Jesus would die and rise again-hadn’t been fulfilled. Pretty heavy doubt.
In some churches I have belonged to in the past there were the doubters and the no doubters. One Episcopal Church where I was the youth minister, I told our parish about how something called Cursillo (no doubters) had split the church.
And I have had the privilege of being part of churches where doubt was not only welcome, it was encouraged. In one church I have served the mantra was ‘doubts are the currency of faith.’ In other words our faith gets stronger when we ‘spend the currency of doubt’ to question and inquire and wonder.
What I believe today isn’t close to what I believed 45 years ago when I began this journey with Jesus. Not even close. There is much I used to believe that I no longer believe. And that has made my faith stronger because it has led me down a path of believing what is important rather than what someone else told me was important. As you know from all we have done together these past two years, truth is I believe one thing is the most important in the Jesus story–Jesus came to teach us how to love God and love each other. And he calls on us to do just that. All can believe that without doubt.
Doubts can’t hurt us if we are given an opportunity to have them without peril. If we are a community that shuns those who have doubts, we aren’t loving one another. And we sure aren’t love Jesus. Thomas would have been welcome at Christ Church.
Peace and all good,