Sunday, April 7, 2013

One born every minute

I am probably not the only person who finds Jesus difficult to relate to.  The principle reason is that he was impossibly good.  I am touched by the Biblical stories of him expressing fear, anguish, sadness, even anger.  But he always knew the right answer, the right thing to say, and he always reacted with grace, confidence and patience to difficult situations.  Even bearing in mind that the Gospel authors may have been writing through rosy-coloured glasses, Jesus still comes out as a pretty class act.

The Apostles and early disciples are, in the other hand, people I can relate to: Peter's impulsiveness, Paul's ego, and particularly Thomas' doubt.

Some people cannot allow doubt.  This leads inevitably to fundamentalism, whether it be fundamentalist religion, politics or atheism.  A total lack of doubt means that we are unteachable and often leads to an inflexibility of thought that leads to dogma and an inability to accept that other people have different opinions than our own.

Doubt keeps us from being suckers, from falling prey to every scam out there.  Doubt is what fuels scientific progress as much as spiritual progress.  Doubt is a dissatisfaction with the way things are, and it encourages us to change and growth.

That being said, too much doubt is not a good thing.  Doubt in the face of overwhelming evidence (including the evidence of our own senses and experiences which science cannot account for) can blinker us as much as our rigid "certainty".

Far from being criticized for his doubt, Thomas is blessed for it because even though he doubted, he was willing to understand.

My sermon for this week was based on John 20:19-31.

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