IT IS A WONDERFUL THING to me that the Collect for today, the Feast of St Thomas the Apostle, speaks of God’s having allowed Thomas to doubt “until word and sight convinced him.” This speaks to me of a generous, patient God. No need to tie up every loose end in creation all at once. We’re allowed. God gives His children plenty of rope. He trusts us. He loves us.
Almighty and eternal God, who, for the firmer foundation of our faith, allowed your holy apostle Thomas to doubt the resurrection of your Son till word and sight convinced him: grant to us, who have not seen, that we also may believe and so confess Christ as our Lord and our God; who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
Citizenship in God’s kingdom is today’s gift and reality. And in God’s Kingdom, as we can know it here on earth, there are no strangers, no aliens. We’re invited to sit comfortably alongside and with each other. Members. We’re allowed to be. We’re becoming. Not yet quite everything that we’re going to be, but – in the bonds of peace – it’s as OK for us to be who we are as it is for Kindergarten to be comprised of children: happy and accepted, though still with plenty of learning to be won.
You are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. In him the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling-place for God. – Ephesians 2.19-22
Teachers who make room for cautious, doubting, experimenting, tentative disciples are the greatest mentors. And we are citizens, learners, allowed room for loving and laughing, for failing and trying, for praying and parting, for crying and dying. Closed doors present no problem to the Risen Jesus: He comes among us “though the doors were shut” to say “Peace be with you”. And we, who are allowed to doubt, tentatively step forward, beckoned by God’s “it’s going to be OK” … until the day when we can say, “My Lord and my God!” … becoming “Blessed” or “Happy”.
Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, ‘We have seen the Lord.’ But he said to them, ‘Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.’ A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.’ Thomas answered him, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Jesus said to him, ‘Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.’ – John 20.24-29