Thomas? I doubt it.
Holy Trinity Church, Huddersfield, Sunday 19th April 2020
Yet another week in lockdown. Yet another virtual service on YouTube. Yet more picture of the building we did not attend. Yet again a false start as streaming of the service did not happen after the first linked video if we went watched at regular service time of 10:45 just that swirling round icon. Yet again streaming the service was fine after 12 noon. The fault seems to be with YouTube, they could be a lot of people streaming from their platform at this time. Having an old laptop PC built to run Windows 8 and running Windows 10 does not help either.
The service was in the style of the previous few weeks with a great improvement. The preacher, Nathan, was seated and shot from two different camera angles. This is closer to what would be seen in a professionally produced video, and had a relaxing effect. Service leader John, a retired priest, on the other hand, was doing the standing in front of a bookcase style of previous preachers. he was also swaying from side to side and forwards and back. I found this a little unnerving in a talking head. I suggest that John should either lead from a sitting position or have the camera further back next time. I know John from his leading and preaching, the sway is part of his style and is not distracting in a church context, It’s just seeing it in close up. We are still on the learning curve as to using technology.
Doubting Thomas. Sometimes we hear of people being called doubting Thomases, it is usually derogatory. But Thomas in the Bible was not like that, it is unfair to call him doubting Thomas. Everything he did was reasonable.
Thomas appears twice more in John’s Gospel. One is when Jesus and the disciples have learnt that Lazarus has died. Thomas says. “Let us go so we can die with him,” Thomas sounds resigned to his fate. But this is not something said in haste, Thomas comes late into the conversation. The rest of the disciple had already moved on. Thomas has spent time in thought before speaking. Thomas was a thinker.
The other time Thomas appears is when Jesus says, “Do not let your hearts be troubled, my Father’s house has many rooms. Thomas says, “We do not know where you are going.” Thomas is asking questions
In James’s letter he says, “If any lacks wisdom ask God.” There is no shame in not knowing things. Thomas, when he says he will not believe without seeing Jesus and his wounds he is not asking for anything the disciples had not seen. Thomas wants to understand. When Jesus has appeared in front of all the disciple, including Thomas, He understands. He has seen the father’s love in Jesus.
Jesus welcomes our doubts too. There is a difference between being cynical and questioning. The gospels show that Thomas wasn’t the only one who doubted, it is not mutually exclusive.
God does all things for the good of those who love him. Jesus has secured us a place as a questioning, doubting and sinful people who he loves. You are not alone in your questions.