— Midweek Meditations:
thoughts, inspiration and encouragement
from ACF community members —
How I love this little tale, which we heard this past Sunday as our gospel reading! Thomas is one of those people in the bible that I have always thought were treated too harshly by the conventional interpretations I have grown up with. I got the feeling that contemporary Christians look down on him, on his perceived lack of faith, on his alleged dumb questions. I guess this affords them a sense of superiority and a reason to pat their own backs for their firm faith that apparently even Jesus has all but praise for:
But that is not the Thomas I see. My Thomas is brave enough to ask the hard questions. He is not afraid to be vulnerable, to speak his mind, to withstand being carried away by general excitement.
It’s a real shame that we’re not told what Jesus’ tone of voice was like when he said to Thomas: “Stop doubting and believe.” In my childhood bible lessons this exclamation sounded strict, almost angry.
Yet that is not the voice of Christ I came to encounter in my own life. The still small voice within me was always full of empathy when I was brave enough to face the hard questions that welled up in me. It met my vulnerability with kindness and seemed to even appreciate me thinking things through in an honest fashion.
Malcolm Guite, a contemporary British poet who often manages to put my feelings about God, faith & live into beautiful words, wrote this sonnet, revealing that in those verses in John’s gospel he also must have met the same Thomas I did: