Notes from the Vicar of Grace

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Bill Harper

Hey All--     

We call him (and many others like him) "Doubting Thomas." He shows up every year, on the Sunday after Easter.  When we first hear the story he doesn't seem to come off well. For years I've mostly dismissed him as  a typical example of someone who lives in the narrow world of the five senses--the kind of person who says "well, if I can't see it, touch, taste it, smell it, well then it didn't happen.  It doesn't matter what your experience is--it's only mine that matters." And Jesus seems to dismiss him too.  Doubting Thomas is, apparently, not the role model of faith.


But maybe he is.  As I looked at that story again this week, thinking ahead to Sunday, I felt remarkably drawn to this Doubter.  Of course he wasn't always known as "The Doubter."  In the Gospel Story he's actually Thomas "the Twin."  Twin?  Of who?  Maybe of me.  


Like Thomas, what I want is some kind of "Resurrection" in real time.  Something fleshy and real, not something that merely hints at other worldly re-birth.  What I want is to know that you and I--and the rest of the planet right along with us--could wake up one day and know, without doubt, that our lives, and the life of every person living in this very moment, could be changed, renewed, resurrected.  In real time.  Now. I want to know that war and hunger and dirty water and unbridled greed and stupid, shallow arguments about birth certificates and immoral arguments about who owes what and how we will care for the honest, tragic poor; I want to know that all of that awful wrongness will just end, and something new will rise from ashes we have left smoldering in paper bag outside our front door.  Like Thomas, like folks from Missouri, I say: "show me.  Please.  I so want this resurrection to be real."


This Sunday we will baptize yet another real life child.  And baptism is about this life, not another life.  Not the "next" life.  And as we get ready to pour that cold water we will make some promises.  Yes, promises. Promises to practice a life of resurrection--one based on the belief that life can be better, more, than what we witness with our own two eyes.  The world is a messy place--we live in a messy world.  But the real, resurrected, world is better than this.  Let's be like Thomas, and reach out to touch that world.  




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