Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Looking for a Different Thomas

I’ve been writing my 2 Easter sermon for six weeks. Why? Because for me the gospel text that is used this coming Sunday (John 20:19-31) is even more expected than last Sunday’s resurrection narrative. In case you haven’t been to church on the Sunday after Easter Day in the last 30 years, the text is always the story of “doubting Thomas.” Perhaps it’s because I’ve preached on ‘Low Sunday’ a lot in the seven years I’ve been doing this (5 as a curate/associate), but I feel like I have “put your hand in my side” down pat. In my mind, I’ve been preparing for (and trying to avoid) a sermon on this ultra-familiar text.

Does anyone have any surprises out there?

That’s the real trouble for me. I want to be surprised like Thomas. I want to have my expectations rocked to their core. I want to read this gospel text and not hear myself preach the same sermon. Anyone have anything new to say?

I like what Steve Pankey wrote today. Thomas didn’t doubt; he had unbelief. Steve points out that what was lacking wasn’t faith but relationship. That helps me get a fresh perspective on it.

What about others? What’s the preacher’s message to the faithful (and I do mean faithful to show up on 2 Easter)?  


  1. Thanks for the shout-out, Evan. You know, you could always do a systematic theology of holy twinning in the Didymus Thomas narrative. Or, maybe not.

    While I think if you are going to read the Thomas story, you have to at least touch on it in the sermon, the more important piece comes in 20:21. Disciples become Apostles in this scene. They are given the gift of the Spirit. And, a week later, they are still sitting in a locked room. Jesus calls us to learn from him, for a while, but then we are sent forth, like we are every Sunday, to proclaim forgiveness, i.e. the Good News of God's radical love for us. Do we trust enough to go forth? Or, like the Apostles, are we content to sit and wait for Jesus to *hopefully* show up again?

  2. So when do they really become apostles--"sent-out ones?" Being given the gift (breath/Spirit) and acting on it seem to be different things. Maybe relationship has something to do with it. Maybe belonging to a cogent, defined, mutually supportive community has something to do with it. It took Thomas showing up before they could move on. Or, to conflate gospel accounts, maybe it took the total reconstitution of the 12 (St. Matthias) before they could get moving.