Today matches the Apostle Thomas, often called “Doubting”, against someone named Enmegahbowh. (Who?)
We hear the story that gave him that nickname on the sunday after Easter. Thomas was away when Jesus first appeared to the apostles; when he returned, and they told him, he scoffed.
Well, wouldn’t you?
He said he’d believe it when he had tangible evidence: when he touched the wounds in Jesus’ hands and side.
For most of my life, I heard this story as a putdown of Thomas, because it ends “but blessed are those who have not seen, and yet believe” — ie, unlike you.
But here’s the thing that finally dawned on me about 10 years ago: Jesus did not, actually, put Thomas down in this story. Did not shame him, did not diss him. Did not even call him “O ye of little faith” — a phrase by which he addressed the disciples during his public ministry, three times in Matthew and once in Luke.
Jesus met Thomas on his own terms. Jesus offered Thomas the proof he had asked for. And Thomas, recognizing Jesus, responds with an act of faith: “My Lord and my God.”
In my book, Thomas is the patron saint of skeptics, agnostics, and scientists, especially Christian scientists. The search for proof, and the response of faith, are by no means mutually exclusive.
Vote for Thomas!
Note: Wow, this is turning out to be an *extremely* close race – it’s been hovering at 51-49 all day except when it’s been even closer, and the leading candidate has switched several times!