Saturday, 29 April 2017

Two Thomases

It is hardly original or ground-breaking to notice that Thomas didn’t touch the wounds of the risen Lord, or at least that we are not told that he did so.
It is frequently noted that John tell us Thomas says he will only believe if he is able to do so, that John tells us the risen Lord invites him to do so, but that John never tells us that Thomas actually does so.  Thomas encounters the risen Lord and says ‘My Lord and my God’ – that is it.

So I’ve been reminding myself, our Annual Parochial Church Meeting and others that any encounter with the risen Lord, any genuine encounter with God, is likely to result in a complete revision of what we previously judged, or simply assumed, are our criteria for faith.

Which may, of course, be one reason that intellectual arguments (between atheist and Christian, inter-faith and intra-faith) prove unproductive most of the time.  

And, while it is important to notice that, it may be more important to notice that the task of the church is to be places of effective encounter with God rather than instruments of persuasion.

I see that I haven’t quoted R S Thomas’ The Answer since 2009 (‘the one I value above almost all’) and 2011 (‘a poem I revisit more often than almost any other’) which says almost this with its

... the old questions lie
folded and in a place
by themselves, like the folded
graveclothes of love’s risen body.

The pictures are just one feature from my recent but only visit to Hull as this year's City of Culture.

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