The Incredulity of Saint Thomas, by Caravaggio

I know, I know.

He comes up every year. If you’ve ever been an Associate, you know the joys of preaching him often.

Sometimes we get tired of preaching Thomas.

 (But I love Thomas.)
There are other choices this week, including Peter sermonizing and Peter (possibly) writing a letter, and you can find them all here. You might also want to see all the ways this painting by Caravaggio has been re-imagined by doing a Google Image search for “Doubting Thomas.” The word in the painting’s title, though, is “Incredulity,” which has more than one gloss. Yes, it’s an unwillingness to believe (skepticism or doubt), but it is also inability to believe, which to me feels more like shock.
So as I lean into this text, I’m captivated by the shock they all felt and the likelihood that most of us would have been dubious about the reports, or hurt that we missed seeing him, or … you fill in the next possibility.
Please join us in the comments and let us know about your plans for the coming Sunday.

11 thoughts on “Tuesday Lectionary Leanings – Thomas, among other things, edition

  1. My sermon title is "So That You May Believe" – focusing on the reason that the Gospels were written – in order to share with us the faith story, so that we may come to believe. I love Thomas, too, but I am looking at him from a different lens this year. The Gospel writer is writing to a community that is now at least 2 generations removed from Jesus. In a way, they are all like Thomas – they have not seen for themselves what other witnesses have told them. I think that brings them – and us – closer to Thomas, and hopefully closer to Jesus. Those are just some beginning thoughts.


  2. I do enjoy Thomas. But next Monday is voting day in Canada and so I have decided to preach on making choices. And a month ago that sounded like a good idea….I am using Deuteronomy 30 (one of my faves) and the "Render unto Ceasar" as told by Luke.After all, Thomas comes up every year—I get lots of chances to talk about the patron saint of those who missed church/a meeting/a TV show only to find out something really exciting happened.


  3. A youth recently shared a great videowith me. Hope it provides some inspiration for you.Go associates. It is YOUR day! Preach it! This is an important text and you will do it well.I used to be an associate and had to preach Sunday after Easter every year! Ugh. But I do love Thomas!


  4. I'm having a horrible time leaving comments on Blogger from my church computer. It works from other places, just not here, no matter what I do with the whole cookie, java, scripting mess.Ugh. So, I had a little thought on FB that turned into an only slightly larger thought on my blog. Hopefully it is enough to get me writing tomorrow.I'm thinking about the reality of people asking for proof of the Body of Christ (Jesus/church), particularly the peace it says it brings into the world. The validity of that questioning even, and then how are we going to respond to those questions now. What evidence will we offer of what we believe to be true, that Jesus is alive, new life has come, transformation happens….? Will probably include in worship somewhere the Casting Crowns song "If we are the body"


  5. I'll be off relaxing with a gang of friends this weekend, but I offer this thought about Thomas: perhaps he was the beloved disciple! There's a school of thought that promotes this view, including the very learned NT theologian/priest/seminary prof in our congregation, and it makes sense. The part I recall most clearly is that if he had been the one at the cross, it would make sense that he wasn't in the upper room on Sunday night, because he would've been ritually unclean; by the next week, he could join them again.


  6. I like this quote from A.N. Wilson's book, "My Name is Legion" — especially in its first line about loss of control. How modern Thomas is, unwilling to lose his ability to keep it all together –"The new God was to be found not in control, but in loss of control; not in strength but in weakness. He was no longer an explanation for what happens. He was now a person – a mysterious person who only the minute before had looked very much like the gardener sweeping the path. That has the profoundest implications for the human race and for human history for as long as it lasts. For we can no longer look to an imaginary God to hand out morality, to feed the poor, to heal the sick, to refashion the world along just and equitable lines. That is our responsibility now, and if it seems like a Godless world, we shall be judged – we, not God.The Twelve did not recognize the friend who had been killed, brutally and savagely killed – they did not recognize him at first. But the one who doubted most of all saw, with the eyes of hindsight, that his Lord and his God was to be found not in the highest heavens and heaven of heavens but in a wounded human body: in bleeding hands, and pierced feet, and wounded side. It was in the presence of that abject vulnerability that Doubt was cast aside, and Faith could say, My Lord and my God!" (pp. 300-301)


  7. Preaching on Thomas, and how he is like a kid who always asks the embarrassing question that everyone else is thinking…and how he misses the real opportunity, which is to ask "What am I supposed to do with this reality?" Because he is still very child-like and concrete in his faith development, he is looking for a scientific answer to a spiritual phenomenon, when he should be looking for a spiritual answer to a physical phenomenon. In other words, faced with something that is both absurd and real, can I open myself up to the light of God that allows me to make sense of it? May be a bit of a stretch for my folks, but we like to stretch together (mostly).


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