I stand with Doubting Thomas.
Today is the feast day of St. Thomas the Apostle. The Gospels call him Thomas Didymus, “the Twin”; tradition calls him Doubting Thomas. The Gospel of John gives us the story that is read pretty much every year on the Second Sunday of Easter, Low Sunday, first after Easter Day–how he refused to believe that his fellow disciples had seen Jesus unless he, too, got to see Jesus, and not only see him, but touch him and verify his wounds.
I stand with Thomas, who was not there the first time Jesus appeared to all the disciples together. I stand with his desire to do what the others had no doubt already done: Seen Jesus, heard him, touched him, perhaps embraced him. He told Mary Magdalene not to cling to him, but later he told Thomas explicitly to touch him. And Thomas did.
I stand with Thomas, who asked awkward questions, who stood by Jesus even when he was certain it meant death. I stand with Thomas, who wanted his own experience of the Lord, his own relationship with Jesus, who was not content to rely on hearsay. I stand with Thomas, who wanted to verify that the Risen Lord was also the Crucified One, who demanded to see the holes the nails left and the wound made by a Roman spear.
I stand with Thomas, whom the Gnostics claimed for their own, in whose name one of the earliest Gospels was written, and to whom Christians in India trace their faith tradition. I stand with Thomas, who wanted not only to see Jesus and hear Jesus, but to touch him and perhaps even smell him and taste him. I stand with Thomas, who trusted his own senses, who was willing to give his heart only to Jesus.
“Blessed are they who have not seen yet have believed,” says the Gospel of John, and for centuries people have been encouraged to believe without experience, without relationship, without seeing the wounds of the Risen Lord and touching them in their own lives, and belief has slowly slipped along the scale from trust and faith to idea and opinion, and people have grown hungry and thirsty for God, rigid in “belief”, afraid in their hearts. I stand with Thomas, who tells us that the Lord who conquered death and passed through closed doors to eat and drink with his friends can pass through the doors of history and frozen beliefs to call us by name and invite us to touch his wounds.