Open Hands, ©Mark Hewitt 2012
Belief – Faith, is not something easily or lightly given.
Wendy M Wright in her book The Vigil, copyright © 1992 Upper Room Books wrote this;
“To believe something (in a religious sense) is not simply to hold an opinion; it is to let that something sink down into the marrow of your bones and form the structure of your life. To believe something is to let its affirmation become the inhalation and exhalation of your life’s breath. Belief does not exclude doubt or incredulity or intellectual curiosity, but belief is not exhausted in doubting or incredulity or curiosity. To believe something is to let it transform your life.”
I would add beief does not exclude being broken. This exchange between Thomas & Jesus gives us all comfort in that its okay to be critical, it’s okay to be questioning, it’s okay to doubt. All the disciples displayed it.
Being critical, questioning, doubting is part of belief. We all come to belief in different ways.
Belief is more than intellectual agreement; a person who believes, gives one’s whole self to something. Just as Thomas did. The root of the Latin credo (I believe) is cor (heart.) You are enclouraged in your faith journey to be led by your heart, to be critical, to question, to have doubts. Let that process take place because of the bedrock of your belief and let that process Inform and shape your faith.
John 20: 19-31 (NRSV)
Jesus Appears to the Disciples
When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.’ When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.’
Jesus and Thomas
But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, ‘We have seen the Lord.’ But he said to them, ‘Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.’
A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.’ Thomas answered him, ‘My Lord and my God!’Jesus said to him, ‘Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.’
The Purpose of This Book
Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.
Risen Christ, breathe upon us your spirit of new life.
Where we cannot see, help us to keep our minds open toward faith.
Strengthen us as we seek to know you, and help us to grow in love for you and for each other.
-©Seasons of the Spirit