The blog of a lutheran pastor, writer, and political animal.
Sunday, April 12, 2015
“Doubting Thomas” Monologue Sermon
can already hear your snickering.
especially you there in the back.
can hear you whispering “Look, the doubter. Look, Doubting Thomas.”
really not fair.
don’t name any of the other disciples that way.
don’t say “Look, Abandoning Peter.”
don’t even say “Look, Betraying Judas.”
that matter, why can’t you call me “Twin
Thomas”—that’s what the gospels call me…
Or you could even call me “Brave Thomas”
After all, when all the other
disciples were whining:
“Oh, if we go back to Judea
we’ll get stoned to death… poor us.”
I said, “Well, then we’ll go to Judea and die
you could call me Inquisitive Thomas—after
all, there was that one time when Jesus told us that he was going someplace—and
he claimed we already knew where that was (Truth be told, Jesus really gives us too
much credit sometimes)
Everyone else just nodded
solemnly like they knew what he was talking about
—Not me though, I actually wanted
to make sure I knew what this was all about
—I chose to ask the dumb question
that no one else wanted to ask, “Where
are you talking about?”
I’m stuck with that name
I’m stuck as Doubting Thomas.
Doubting Thomas. All because of that one
He’d died for crying out loud!
--we’d all seen it. Our Lord, hung
out there like a criminal.
then, later, Mary told us he’d risen from the dead.
didn’t believe her. None of us, not one!
We ALL doubted her.
why the other disciples locked themselves in the upper room. They didn’t trust
that if Jesus could come to Mary he could come to all of us
—yetI get the bad
wrap as “Doubting Thomas.” …
My point is this, we all doubted.
at least went outside
—I wasn’t afraid to die
—I didn’t lock myself in that
room out of fear
—I figured if they killed me, for knowing Jesus, then so be it…
Yet I’m the doubter
wasn’t in the room the first time.
I missed out.
time I saw them
—the other disciples
told me about being breathed on, how that changed
everything for them.
seemed kind of strange to me, honestly… being breathed on by a dead guy…think of the halitosis…
But I couldn’t knock it. It gave
—it changed them from frightened
fishermen hiding-out, to bold preachers front and center.
was jealous of that—maybe that would be a better name for me “Jealous Thomas” I’d cop to that.
was jealous of their new status—their new boldness.
mean, I was the bold one, after all.
not after seeing them.
felt like the person who misread the worship time for Easter and got to church
in time to pick up a Lilly and go back home… without even hearing the good
felt like I’d missed Easter.
I couldn’t believe them
—I couldn’t believe they’d seen him.
I couldn’t believe the transformation that had overcome them.
I couldn’t believe…
(hmmm)Well, if I’m really honest… I couldn’t
believe I’d missed it.
I missed Jesus
I missed this
peace they all felt.
I felt left out.
I was jealous of them.
I went so far as to cut myself off
from the community by not trusting their words…
And I want to be clear, it was their words I doubted—not him… never him. Never God and never Jesus…
just missing his
return, missing out on what they all had …that changing moment… I missed it.
And it didn’t help that they were so
excited about that forgiving and retaining sins thing.
In fact, they
tried it out on me. I think they were
meaning it well—but…
it felt like they believed doubt was a sin.
you know what it feels like to have your brothers and sisters whisper, and even
say aloud, that you are a sinner because you doubt? A sinner because you
weren’t there in that room.
A sinner because
you missed out.
A sinner because
they were all certain… and your uncertainty makes them feel uncomfortable.
1They were changed, and I missed it /
they were gung-ho and I was still in the depths of mourning.
2It made me pull away from them, even
though they were trying their best to continue to be my brothers.
3They went so far as to call me a sinner
for missing that moment… for doubting.
And because of all that I blew up—I said something I didn’t really mean.
I said I would
only believe if I squished my fingers around in his wounds.
Pretty gross if you stop and think
about it—macabre even…
but I was in
else had experienced resurrection… I was still in despair.
but despairing. Despairing Thomas / not Doubting Thomas.
Somehow, I toughed it out. I came
back—despite all that, I showed up in that room, with them, the next week.
There … with them… a voice came from
behind me, and said:
“Peace be with you.”
And he took that gross challenge I’d
thrown at my brothers,
and at God,
the challenge of
“poking my fingers in his wounds,” and made it a redeemable moment
—a place from
which I could believe…
a place beyond
And I shouted out, “My Lord and my God.”
That’s where things get complicated.
Most people think what Jesus said to me next was a rebuke… that Jesus too
called me a sinner for not being with them… with the other disciples—for being “a
But it wasn’t a rebuke. He just asked
me a rhetorical question, “Have you believed because you have seen?”
Then he looked passed me, through that
room, and out into eternity
generations… to all of you…
them, saying, “blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to
It wasn’t a rebuke, it was a blessing
for all those Christians who came after us… He was promising them
—his love and
his gospel, for
It wasn’t about me
—but about his blessing,that conquered the grave,
our despair and division,
and continues to
bring life to this day
—to this very
If I’m “Doubting
Thomas” … You all are “Blessed Disciples”