Welcome back to the Soul Café after taking some time off to live into the blessings of Holy Week! Now things are back to “normal”, it’s a good time to write and think about what happened that Easter morning and what it means for us as the people of God. First of all, we will never be “normal” again. The Resurrection has transformed us because God announced to us that death has no finality in the Kingdom of God. The normalcy of death being the end of life has been subverted by a God who sees no end to possibilities or potential, even in the face of the most inevitable of all natural forces.
Yet death still has a hold over us and limits our full experience as people of the Resurrection. In some ways, the apostle Thomas is an example of this, but not necessarily in the way we’ve been conditioned to think about Thomas – that doubt is the opposite of faith, and that Thomas is the negative role model that proves the statement. I think we get Thomas all wrong, when we see him as the apostle of little faith.
Yes, Thomas demanded physical proof of the living Christ, and did not rely on his friends’ testimonies that they had seen Jesus alive. Thomas is much like disciples of today, who have doubts that death can mean anything more that it always has meant. But doubt is not so much the opposite of faith as it is a tool in the formation of faith. Jesus did not simply chastise Thomas for his doubts, Jesus used those doubts to give Thomas new insights into the power of the Resurrection. Once Thomas touched the wounds of Jesus, he experienced that power and stated faithfully “My Lord and My God!”
It is with this spirit that we participate in the Resurrection even today, but touching the wounds Christ in the world. Crucifixion may no longer be the scourge it was 2000 years ago, but Christ is still wounded by the world’s bigotry, power and wealth inequity, exploitation of resources, war and violence, disease and starvation. I need not go on. In our doubts, we may ask “Where is the living God?” in all of this. The story of Thomas tells us, that the answer to our doubts is not to wait for God to come down and fix it all, but to go and put our hands into the wounds of Christ in the world. There we will see the living Christ. There we will experience the true meaning off faith and resurrection. There we will meet “My Lord and My God”!
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About this website
Gustavus Adolphus Lutheran Church (GA) in New York City has been chosen as one of eight internship congregations to participate this year in a church-wide initiative designed to increase our understanding of Holy Scripture and most importantly, to cultivate our engagement with it. In partnership with The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, Vicar John Heidgerd will be working to develop innovative ways to deepen our faith formation and sense of discipleship for the sake of ourselves and our communities.