Quiet Service - Resources

St Thomas Cross

Quiet Service 19th March 2015

"Doubting Thomas."


Due to a Circuit Easter Offering service the Quiet Service for this month was cancelled. I have, however, been reflecting on the words of Thomas in the gospel of John. Tasked with finding a suitable reflection for the "Journey Light" worship I didn't really find anything suitable which was free to use.

So time to put pen to paper to produce something which I hope some will find useful. Known to the majority as "doubting Thomas" is this really a fair or an over negative label to hang onto him. We used this reflection for our Prayer and Praise service this week.

Reflection on Thomas

Thomas is my name, known first as "the twin" but now always as "doubting" Thomas but what a story of faith and assurance I have to tell.

But I get ahead of myself so let me start at the beginning.

What a journey we had been on, sometimes hard and confusing sometimes so wonderful as to be hard to believe. Following Jesus, hearing his teaching, although always asking questions as we so often didn't see what he was really saying.

We did see the sick, healed, the dead raised to life. In fact if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes I would never have believed it.

Perhaps it would be best to share, with you, some of the events I especially remember.

The first was when we were out in the country, we heard that Jesus' friend Lazarus had died. Oh boy we didn't want to go back to Judea. The Jews there had tried to stone Jesus when we had last been there and we told him we couldn't possibly go back. But Jesus was determined and so I told the others we had better go with him so that we could all die together.

When we arrived Jesus said to Martha, "I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?"

And Martha said "Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world."

We went to Lazarus' tomb and he told us to roll the stone away and Lazarus came out. Many who saw what Jesus did believed in him then. I believed in him with all my heart but if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes I never would have believed it.

The second thing I remember was when we had come into Jerusalem it was amazing the crowds shouting and singing. Throwing their cloaks and branches in front of Jesus. After all we had been through if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes I would not have believed it.

Then we met with Jesus and he told us all of the terrible things that were going to happen we didn't want to believe it. We were quite upset by his talk but he reassured us "Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father's house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going." and I said "Lord, we don't know where you are going, so how can we know the way?" and he answered "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him." To be honest I still didn't really understand but Jesus was there and it seemed to make sense of a sort.

Gates of Heaven

Then that awful week... Judas, one of us, betrayed him and he was tried, convicted and sentenced to death. They crucified him, it was over, nothing more to do than hide and hope they forgot about us, his followers. We locked ourselves away keeping well out of sight not attracting attention.

Then Mary in her grief "saw" Jesus well we were all sceptical. Was she hysterical or wishing what she hoped to be true?

St Thomas Cross

Then Jesus appeared to the others of course I wasn't there. They all saw Jesus and his wounds or so they said. Overactive imagination, wishful thinking, hard to believe without seeing with your own eyes.

In fact I said it right out if I didn't see it with my own eyes I would not believe it. They were annoyed with me the same as Mary had been with all of us but if it were true they had seen Jesus then all I wanted was the same opportunity.

St Thomas Cross

Then Jesus appeared again. He looked straight at me and said "Put your finger here. Look at my hands. Put your hand here in my side. Stop doubting and believe." What could I say other than "My Lord and my God!".

Jesus said to me "You believe because you see me. Great blessings belong to the people who believe without seeing me!"

We had forgotten so much he had told us, so many of the things he had done but suddenly it all made sense. So I suppose when all is considered "doubting" is a fair name for me, indeed I had questions and wanted answers.

An illustration in many stories and sermons since that day. A source of explanation that it is not wrong to have questions, an illustration of how we must believe without seeing but not without seeking answers what a powerful image.

On reflection it seems to me that if my doubt has allowed anyone else to believe in Jesus then my name of doubting Thomas has been worth more to the world and everyone of those who believed than I could ever have imagined. I haven't seen it but I believe it! St Thomas Cross

Thomas after the Resurrection.

After the resurrection Thomas is said to have travelled and taken the Gospel to India a country where there are now 24 million Christians.

His cross, which is shown, has many interpretations but one is that the dove represents the action of the Holy Spirit in the resurrection. The flowery arms symbolise "joyfulness". The 3 steps represent Calvary and the rivulets, channels of grace flowing from the Cross.