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Tuesday, 30 April 2019 16:07

Thomas, Doubt and Square Watermelons

 2019.18.Thomas doubt and square watermelons1

If I told you there in Japan, they grow square watermelons because they will stack better in the shops, would you believe me, or would you be filled with doubt? Leave that one in the back of your mind for a moment, and come with me on a journey with Thomas, commonly referred to as the doubter.

He wasn’t in the room that day when Jesus appeared to the rest of the disciples. Perhaps he had gone to organise dinner, or have some time on his own. But wherever he was, while he was gone, Jesus came and appeared to the rest of the disciples. He showed them his hands and his side, offered them peace, breathed the power of the Spirit on to them and sent them forth to offer forgiveness of sins.

Thomas returns, and maybe this is projection, but I imagine he felt a little disgruntled, maybe majorly disgruntled, left out, ripped off and alone. The other disciples, his friends, had an amazing experience and he had missed it. And when they told him, his response indicated something like being expected to believe that they grow square watermelons in Japan. He wanted proof, he wanted to use the square watermelon for the next game he played that needed a dice, or more realistically, he wanted to see the mark of the nails and place his hands in the hole on Jesus’ side.

We then read in the scriptures that it was a week until Jesus appeared again – a whole week. I wonder what Thomas was like in those days. Was he swallowed by dejection? Did he pray and seek God in his confusion? Did the changes in the other disciples start to convince him that what he had been told was real? The day comes and Jesus appears again – this time Thomas is present. Jesus invites him to touch his hands and his side, and he utters, ‘My Lord and my God’.

Jesus responds by saying, ‘Blessed are those who have not seen, yet believe’. In many ways, this is the camp which we fall into. We have not seen Jesus in the same way that the disciples did, so how are we called to respond to the story of Thomas.

I think two things stand out for me – we are invited to SEEK JJESUS and BE SOUGHT BY JESUS. We seek him and invite him into our doubt, our fear and our confusion. Yet we also open ourselves to being sought by him, so that like Thomas, he can meet us in a deeply intimate and personal way in the midst of our deepest vulnerability.

(By the way, doubt no more, because square watermelons are a real thing)

Mel Edwards