As hard as I try to keep up with the liturgical timeline, the subject matter often outpaces us. Passages that may take one sermon per cycle for a big congregation usually take us a few weeks to unpack; maybe because of our smaller numbers and family den setting, I get a LOT of questions each week. Some are silly (what's your favorite type of pig) and others are very profound. I'm always impressed by the bravery in their honest questions- even if it means we move through topics a bit slower.
This week, only by the grace of God, everything aligned with perfect timing. From the St. Thomas-heavy emphasis in church, to the film we were set to watch, to the Parish Picnic leftovers- everything fit a theme.
When I was younger, I felt bad for St. Thomas. First, he wasn't with the other disciples when they saw the risen Jesus. It was like they had a surprise party without him. Then, he gets a bad rap for being doubtful of his friends, and now he wears the moniker, 'Doubting Thomas'. A nickname like that certainly doesn't make him the most popular saint. And while it's easy for us to praise the other disciples for their faithfulness, we know what happened! We can side with the faithful disciples easily when we know that they end up being right.
Really, at the end of the day, aren't we all like Thomas? Even knowing the awesome power of prayer we still have a hard time acting on faith alone, especially when it contradicts reason.
I was so glad for us to watch the first half of Risen last night. The story starts in the aftermath of Jesus' crucifixion, and is told from the perspective of a Roman Tribune (a total non-believer). It exposes a wealth of lesser-known political implications to Jesus' resurrection, making it both exciting as a story and a fresh look at the annual Easter story. But, even more incredibly, it looks at the other side of doubt as Thomas'; when reason alone offers no explanation, doubt lends us toward faith.
While we still have to watch the latter half (next Sunday evening), this week offered a reassuring look at human doubt. Even when we resist our doubts and fears, they happen. That's part of being human- we rely on our senses. And luckily for us, our God lives in the physical world too: acting through the Holy Spirit, and using doubt and fault to transform and reinforce faith.
Scriptures for the Week: John 20: 24-31, Acts 26