Saturday, April 7, 2018

"Believing Thomas...."

Tomorrow's gospel is the two appearances of the Risen Christ in the upper room.

In the first one, Thomas is not there--the only disciple not in hiding, out and about, checking the pulse of Jerusalem.

The first time Jesus comes into the locked room (what's that say about a resurrected body? No need for a door) he 'breathes on them' and gives them his Shalom.

"Shalom" is a Hebrew word we translate at 'peace'.

But Shalom means so much more than 'peace'. Peace is the absents of conflict. "Shalom" means 'wholeness, completeness, everything there and nothing left out'. How much more wondrous than mere 'peace'.

And what could be more intimate that feeling another person's breath on your face? Like a love, a parent, a child breathing on you. So lovely and touching and dear.

(Though the resurrected body doesn't need a door to enter a room, it has breath. Interesting.)

When Thomas comes back, the disciples are all excited and tell him they've seen Jesus. But Thomas isn't buying it.

Thomas gets a bad rap. We call him 'doubting Thomas' but I think of him as "I'm from Missouri Thomas"--he needs to see to believe.

Remember, when Jesus decides to go back to Judea to Lazarus, knowing the Pharisees were plotting there against him, it is Thomas who said, "Let us go with him to die with him." Thomas is the most courageous of the disciples.

And when Jesus comes back, he offers Thomas a chance to touch his wounds (which is what Thomas said he needed to do) but Thomas merely says, "My Lord and My God!"

John's gospel is all about Jesus' 'identity'. Remember how it begins: "and the Word was with God and the Word was God."

In the other gospels, Jesus struggles to understand who he is and what he is to do.

Not in John. Jesus knows who he is without doubt.

And finally, Thomas 'names' him--"My Lord and My God."

Thomas is the Believer, not the doubter. He is the one who finally knows who Jesus is. And names him so....

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some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.