In our focus for this week we are looking at the theme of “proof”… it is all based around the Gospel story of “doubting” Thomas. It is a famous account of how Jesus appeared to his apostles who were hiding away, scared, in a locked room. They were all there apart from Thomas as Jesus came amongst them saying “Peace be with you” and we are told they were filled with great joy and happiness. He also says to them “As the Father sent me so I am sending you.” Thomas returns to the group and refuses to believe that it is true – it simply cannot possibly be. He needs proof, to see it with his own eyes. We are told 8 days later this happens and Jesus says, “You believe because you can see me. Happy are those who have not seen and yet believe.”
A few themes stand out in this Gospel account and theme this week…
- The image of discipleship we see is a very human one – they want to hide away and be together when they feel challenged and threatened. Even though they have heard of the resurrection they are still scared for themselves. If they had stayed hiding Christianity would not be there today and none of us would be at St. Paul’s!
- The phrase “doubting Thomas” is now commonly used relating to disbelief or scepticism. The world we live in demands proof, experience, formal contracts and liability. Not much space for trust and faith perhaps! Of course we can at times find it difficult – I am sure when we are talking about trying to overcome the challenges for some of our students it seems somewhat impossible but we can do it if we stick together. We also will face challenges to our own faith at the toughest times, perhaps this is when we need to trust in God most to love and care for us.
- The disciples are “sent out” and blessed by the Holy Spirit. They need to get beyond the shock of what has happened and know that God has called them to get on with the job at hand of living out their faith and inspiring others. St. Paul later would become one of the greatest Christian disciples as he travelled the world – just look at our House names for the stamps on his passport!
So what can we do when looking at the theme of proof?
- Be brave in all we do – let’s not hide away or accept second best. We are part of a faith community and all of us have a part to play in what we do and say each day.
- Let’s all commit to being a community of believers – this can be in the faith context or beyond. The greatest blessing to us is the “can do” attitude that so often makes a success of things at St. Paul’s, we avoid the “that will never work around here” approach! We are not looking for Jesus to arrive at reception or dine in Oasis but in fact spotting God amongst us in one another.
- We need to be full of the joy of faith as the disciples were as we have a duty to have a positive impact on our community, locally and globally. We do this in the small actions we take each day.
So perhaps this week we can take that leap of faith by avoiding being doubters or catching our very human disbelief. If we can be a witness to the resurrection it can fill the world with light and hope.