So the other disciples told Thomas, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.” A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 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.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.” From John 20
This Sunday, many churches will be hearing sermons based on John 20, where Thomas believed after seeing Jesus “in the flesh.” It’s unclear whether Thomas actually touched Jesus’ hands and side, or if just seeing him and his wounds was enough to engender belief. Jesus’ blessing is even more interesting, touching those who believe without seeing.
Our church this week will not be hearing a sermon on this or any other text. Instead, we’ll hear a report from our mission team. In March, the team installed a water purification system in an urban neighborhood in Campeche, Mexico. They’ll show some slides and talk about the work, the place, the people, the relationships formed. You’ll hear about a partnership, between groups who’d never met before, to bring affordable clean water to those who need it. You’ll see pictures of children, youth and adults from two cultures singing, laughing, learning, working, eating side by side.
Not a sermon. But I suspect that if the disciple Thomas should drop by, there’d be plenty of evidence to prod him into belief in a resurrected Christ whose work didn’t end with a shameful death 2000 years ago. Seeing what is going on in the name of Christ today in Mexico surely is confirmation that the world is rich with people whose faith leads them to bring positive change.
Jesus blessed those who’d never see him, but would still believe. We’ve not seen Jesus the man. But we’ve seen him in the faces and actions of people. And we believe.
© Melissa Bane Sevier, 2011