We Haven’t Seen, But We 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.” John 20:26-29

It is to Thomas’ credit that he not only was a man of suspicion but also was a man of consent, of affirmation, and that he can join the community of consent when it is appropriate. Confronted with the presence of the risen Lord, the presence of transcendent love, he need not push his suspicion to the edge of ridiculous. He can let it go. . . . Instead of seeing Thomas negatively as a man of doubt, as the past has cast him because of his questioning the certainty of others, I see him now more that man of the future who arrives at spiritual integration and confesses Jesus as Lord. Diarmuid McGann

We walk by faith, and not by sight;
no gracious words we hear
of him who spoke as none e’er spoke,
but we believe him near. Henry Alford

Resurrection testifies to the metamorphosis of the Jesus of history to the Christ of faith. It is about the shift in people’s perception of the Jesus of the first-century Nazareth to the Christ who galvanizes all time. It is about the Incarnation of the Jesus born in Bethlehem to the Jesus born in us. It designates the transformation of the Jesus who rises from the dead in Jerusalem to the Jesus who rises, if we allow it, in us. Joan Chittister

A Parable: Stephen, an 8 year old with mental retardation was a member of a Sunday School class. His teacher asked the children in his class to hide in an empty Legg’s pantyhose container one small object that represented the new life of spring. As the teacher opened the containers the children commented or acknowledged their object. One contained a tiny flower; another a rock with moss on it; from one a butterfly flew. The last egg was empty and it was Stephen’s The teacher was afraid that Stephen had not understood her instruction and was ready to move on, but Stephen said, “Please don’t skip mine.” “But it’s empty,” replied the teacher. “That’s right,”
said Stephen. “The tomb was empty, and that’s new life for everyone.” Later that summer, Stephen died and at his service mourners found eight Legg’s pantyhose containers, all empty.

Christ has risen and forever
lives to challenge and to change
all whose lives are messed or mangled,
all who find religion strange.
Christ is risen. Christ is present
making us what he has been
evidence of transformation
in which God is known and seen. John Bell

Note: These reflections are for use during the week of April 19-25 and are based on the scriptures for worship on April 19.

Joyce D. Sohl, Laywoman-in-Residence


Joyce D. Sohl has been Laywoman-in-Residence since 2009 as a full-time volunteer. She retired as CEO of United Methodist Women in 2004. She is the author of 4 books, a teacher, retreat leader, writer and non-professional musician. Here at the Center her work is in the area of Spirituality & the Arts with such programs as Tuesdays in the Chapel, Vespers & All That Jazz, Poet’s Corner, quarterly retreats, and art exhibits.

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