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  • Writer's pictureMinister Jamie Seales

Lego you're doubt. 

Excerpts from Minister Jamie's April 4th sermon based on John 20:19-31...


Peter is the most famous disciple. After all it is Saint Peter who guards the pearly gates. Peter didn't begin as Peter. He began as Simon. His name was changed because of his proclamation that Jesus is Christ. Remember, “on this rock, Petros, I will build my church”. Peter was originally rocky. Peter had moments of lapsed faith. Remember Peter took his eyes off Jesus and Jesus said, “Peter Lego your doubt”. Even though Peter fell into the waters and denied Jesus three times, it is Thomas who is known as the doubter. Many receive bad labels in scripture... Moses stuttered. Abraham was too old. Peter had a temper. Jacob wasn't honest. Zacchaeus was too short. And Thomas doubted.


Thomas gets this reputation for a few different reasons.

  1. We read in John that Jesus gives the great new commandment to love one another. Thomas was not paying much attention. Those, like myself, who are a little ADHD, might find some comfort in Thomas’ inattention.

  2. Thomas asks Jesus how they can find Jesus when he leaves them.

  3. I think this initial doubt becomes more obvious in chapter 20 our text for today. The other disciples witnessed the risen Christ first. He hears of their encounter and responds, “I won't be leave until I get to experience this resurrection for myself”.

A few important points to note...


First, remember as we have walked through John, we hear the importance of Jesus as a flesh and blood human. The word became flesh. Thus, a real resurrection must include the flesh. It is the flesh that bears our wounds. It is our flesh that shows signs that some of those wounds have healed, and that some still need more healing. It is flesh that gets sick. It is flesh that is mortal. It is flesh that dies. It wasn't enough testimony for Thomas to hear that Jesus was raised from the dead. He wanted to see Jesus.


Secondly, Thomas wasn't really being unreasonable. He wasn't asking anything that the other disciples hadn't experienced for themselves. Yes, Jesus does say that those who believe without seeing this flesh and blood resurrection are blessed. But, John's gospel stressed that Jesus not only lived a flesh and blood life and so, too, was bodily resurrected. Thomas was the one who needed this to be a witness. It is Thomas that later gets attached to some Christian traditions that ultimately were rejected. Thomas is then cast as the doubter, but his doubt is central to John.


Is our faith based only on the testimony of others? Or are we willing to make our faith our own? Faith is taking our doubts and asking questions that will help us grow deeper in our relationship with God. Our doubt helps us become the kind of people that we need to become. Will we allow others to define us as too tall, too slow, too loud, too quiet, too doubtful? Or will we take our faith make it our own and live it our understanding that doubt is part of what it means to be faithful?


This past weekend has been a lot of fun. The NCAA tournament concluded with the final four games. The Iowa Hawkeyes have been thrilling to watch. When I say the name Caitlin Clark, what do you think of? How do you think about her? We know she is extraordinary. But what she thinks of herself, how she has handled adversity, and how she has lived out her own life matters far more than what others have called her or labeled her as. That is true with us. It was true for Thomas.


There is a lot of doubt about Jesus, not because Jesus is absent, but because those who have proclaimed to have encountered this resurrected Christ mistreat others, reject, and hurt others. It is perhaps because they have misunderstood the importance of doubt in the life of our faith. We will live into a purer, more Christ centered, truly resurrected faith if we approach our community here with this idea.


Doubt is there - embrace it.

Folks will doubt you - embrace it.

You will doubt others - embrace it.

Others will come along who don't live just like you - embrace it.


Our faith, our trust in the resurrected Christ, the one Thomas called, “my Lord and my God”, should look something like this:


Welcome to holy T. This is a place of love and hope... a place where you can doubt. A safe place where

you can find forgiveness and find some way to forgive the wrongs others have done to you; to love and pray for your enemies. A place where those left out get included. A place where those who are thirsty can counter the one that John's gospel calls, “the living water”. A place where hungry folks encounter the one who John called, “the bread of life”. No matter who you are or where you are in your journey, you are welcome here. You are invited, loved, and encouraged to encounter the resurrected Jesus, and to live in community with other imperfect people. Come on! Come one, come all. Just come.


We are the church... we must be the church... to help others know their doubt can serve a purpose in the life of faith.  Let us continue to anchor ourselves in our experience of Jesus, allow our doubts to draw us closer to God deepen our faith, and push us to love bigger, better, and bolder.

Thanks be to God!

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