Sunday, November 4, 2012

Church Sign - Doubts

There's a church down the street from my house that I pass every morning on my way to work. There is a sign on the corner annoucning what that week's sermon is going to be on. But they're never straight-forward like, 'This Sunday - Faith!" or "Come Learn How To Pray!" No, they're always clever little one-liners that make you think, "I wonder what THAT means? What will that sermon really be about? What is the scriptural basis for that?" which is, of course, the point. I make a little game of it with myself trying to answer those questions. I have never gone to one of the sermons to see if I'm right.

In honor of NaBloPoMo otherwise known as IDon'tKnowIfI'llHaveEnoughMaterialToGetMeThroughAWholeMonth, I'm going to post a picture of the church's sign and play the game with you.

The quality's not great - I took this from my car driving home from work, In case the railway is obscuring your view it says, "I have doubts! I have such doubts"

My first thought was, "The whole Bible would qualify for this sermon!" Because really - if you grew up in a non-Christian household and then read the Bible as an adult, it would seem like science fiction. Some baby is born to a woman who's never had sex, then when he turns 30 he starts doing some crazy stuff like turning water to wine (Napa Valley, rejoice!), he walks on water, heals lepers and blind people, is nailed to a tree and three days later, rises from the dead, appears post-mortem to several people and continues performing miracles.

It takes a lot of faith to believe all that - and to not just believe in the possibility of it, but really believe that it happened and that it somehow applies to me, to you, to everyone individually.

Then I remembered Thomas. He doubted and has been saddled with the nickname Doubting Thomas. Maybe the sermon will be about him. You remember him, right? Ten of the 12 apostles were gathered together when Jesus appeared to them after the resurrection. Two were missing - Judas because, well, he was Judas and had other things to take care of. Thomas was the other missing one. We don't know where he was - the account doesn't say. Maybe he was taking care of his family or perhaps he had to work.

I think Thomas actually gets a bum rap. Everyone remembers him for not believing immediately that it was really the Savior standing in front of him. But put yourself in his shoes for a moment. We've had ~2000 years to get used to the idea that the prophets were right - that the Messiah was indeed Jesus Christ, that he was born in humble circumstances to a virgin, he performed many miracles that all testified as to His divinity, then he was betrayed, crucified and after the foretold amount of time being in the grave, was resurrected.

The apostles all struggled with the idea of him being the Redeemer and Savior. This was a new concept for all of them, not just Thomas. Look at Peter - he had not a great track record himself. Three days before the Thomas incident happened, Peter denied knowing his best friend - three times in the span of a few hours. Peter went on to become a powerful apostle and prophet and leader of the new church.

If it weren't for Thomas, we wouldn't have this great quote from the Savior: "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me" (John 14:6)." We have that awesome simple declaration because Thomas asked an important question - "Lord, how do we know the way?" In other words, How do we do these things? What's the key? How do we believe? How do we make it work for us?

Those are really great questions, and ones we should all be asking ourselves. What's the answer? How do you make Jesus' answer work for you?

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