We'll travel this weekend to Philadelphia to see an old friend of mine get married. And that will be joyful. And then the following weekend is our own anniversary - which will be joyful as well.
But I'm glad that the timing worked out so that I could be with you this past Sunday to preach on the story of Thomas. Because I really do love Thomas. Poor guy has been painted by tradition as this sort of empty character - Thomas who is perpetually unfaithful. And yet, I think there is something truly wonderful about him and about his desire to see Jesus.
A lot has been said about the Episcopal Church and how much we enjoy the questions about faith - the conversation that reveals God to us. And by even some famous folks like Robin Williams about how it's okay to have some doubts. So, I think we can rehabilitate Thomas a bit - he need not frown any longer about the phrase "Doubting Thomas". But there's something still more compelling for me about his willingness to name his desire.
He probably felt a little left out, after all - all of his friends were able to see Jesus. Why should he be left out? And on top of that, isn't it a beautiful thing that he wanted to be included. He wanted to see. He wanted to believe. And perhaps - he even thought his relationship with Jesus was strong enough - that it would be okay for him to say that out loud. I see faithfulness in this - a deep desire to see and to know Jesus. To be included in the community of the faithful. And a willingness to wrestle with God.
I admire all of this. We can hold Thomas up as an example - of what it means to love Jesus - and to want to see him. Don't we all want to see? And isn't there a place among us for those who want to believe - but might be struggling? Or wrestling? Or even doubting? The faithful tradition of wrestling with God goes all the way back to Abraham - when Abraham wrestles and wrestles until his hip pops out. A physical struggle for faithfulness - to receive God's blessing. Thomas is not really any different - he's struggling to see - and physically touch Jesus. To know and feel the truth.
I can't help but think that God smiles at those of us who also want to see - and know - and feel the truth. And that in doing so, in desiring this - and naming the desire - we invite God to help us do just that.
So as we move into this busy spring - I'll say that my desire is for us to see Jesus more clearly. In the neighbors around us who come to our food pantry. In the people we will serve at the Daffodil Festival. In the folks who will come to our big community cook-out in June. And in each other - both around our various committee and meeting tables - and around the communion table. How can we, like Thomas, desire to see and know Jesus more clearly?
In this season of Easter, I pray that we will all come to see - and know - and feel - the Truth of Christ's life - and the promise of Christ's love - in and around us all.
I look forward to getting back to work with you soon. Until then, you'll be in my prayers and in my heart.
Peace be with you.