Saturday, April 2, 2016

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Empowered by the Risen Lord
John 20:24-29
 

Rev. Denny Philip
Carmel MTC, Boston MA

27 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.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”

It is with great wonder and joy I read this passage where the risen Jesus confronts Thomas in his disbelief and equips him to make the renowned faith proclamation, “My Lord and my God!”. What makes me wonder is the way in which God deals with stubborn human nature. What brings me joy is the transformation of a doubter to a builder of the Church. The passage provides us with the following insights for our spiritual nourishment.
God stoops to Conquer: ‘She Stoops to Conquer’, is an eighteenth century comedy play by Oliver Goldsmith, telling the story of an upper-class woman stooping down to a maid to win over her proposed groom. Here in this passage, we see God coming down to the disbelief of Thomas, yielding to his stubbornness, to win him over. The words, “My Lord and my God!” is a natural response to this magnanimity of God. Faith is not basically a human endeavor but a response to the divine initiative. God is willing to come down to the doubts, infidelity and obstinacy of humans to win him over and maintain the relationship. If we allow ourselves to be open to this grace of God, faith would be the natural outcome. When we experience this grace, how far are we able to stoop to the inflexibility of others to radiate this grace. God shows us that we will be able to maintain and strengthen our relationship only if we can yield in love.
Thomas doubts to belief: Thomas’ words'' Unless I see … I will not believe”, may be seen as a doubt and disbelief but it goes beyond. He wants to have a personal confrontation with the risen Lord. He doesn’t want to build his faith on the experience of his friends but on his own. He feels that faith built on assumptions and reports cannot stand the test of time. It needs to be grounded in the personal experience with the risen Lord. His questions and critical mind help him to make the resurrection personal. Our faith develops and gets rooted through critical questions and doubts. We may have gone through different experiences where we may have even questioned the very existence of God. But they lead us not to disbelief but to strengthen our relationship with God and deepen our faith so that we are also equipped to proclaim, “My Lord and my God!”.

PRAYER

“My Lord and my God!” Thank You for coming down to our trivial doubts and fallacies. Open our eyes with the Glory of Your resurrection that we may personally experience Your wounded presence in our wounded experiences. Amen.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:
Questions keep our faith dynamic and active.