Monthly Archives: April 2016

Dear Thomas

This message centers on the apostle Thomas, and reflects on John 20:19-31.  There are a couple of funky things about this one.  It was given at Bar Church on the stage of The Kelsey Theater, a truly unique setting and way of doing church I’ll blog on shortly.  Second, a funky setting screams for a funky message format.  In this case the message is a series of letters, or perhaps emails, written to Thomas.  He never wrote back.

Bar Church featured a ton of pop-culture songs, including U2’s Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.  In a few spots the message reflects back on lyrics from this song.

The idea for this email format came from a seminary bud who took a similar approach with a most excellent message she did recently, Dear Woman, that one is highly recommended as well.  Either listen or read, Dear Thomas below, whichever option suits you.  Enjoy!

Dear Thomas,
Where were you?
Ten disciples saw Jesus that day,
Not Judas, he betrayed Jesus,
So I didn’t expect him to show up.
But you, you were still one of the crew.

On the day He rose from the tomb,
You missed out. You missed Him,
Walking, talking, among them,
They saw Him in the flesh.
Saw where nails pierced His hands,
Where a spear pierced His side.
He gave them the Holy Spirit that day.
But you? You missed out.
You missed the very first Easter.

Dear Thomas,
Yeah, I’m talking to you.
When the other disciples told you,
That they had seen the risen Christ,
Why didn’t you believe them?
These are your people!
You spent three years with this group,
Your closest friends,
Living, learning, dining, mourning,
Watching miracles performed,
Right before your very eyes.
Didn’t you trust them?

But instead of belief,
Instead of trust,
You asked for proof.
To see the marks of nails,
Through torn flesh.

And not just to see,
You wanted more.
You wanted to put your finger,
In the mark of the nails.
To put your hand,
Where a spear pierced His side.
Unless that happens, you said,
You will not believe.

Wouldn’t it have been better,
In that moment, if you had believed?
A better reflection, on you?
A better example, for us?

Dear Thomas,
Many of us have a nickname for you,
Did you know that?
You’re not just Thomas, the apostle
You are doubting Thomas,
The one who struggled with belief,
Just a little more than the others.

How do you feel about this nickname?
Is it fair? Is it your reality?
Are you still looking for proof?
I wonder about that, Thomas.

Dear Thomas,
It was a week after,
After you chose, not to trust,
Your brother disciples.
To not believe what they had seen.
It was a week after,
When Jesus then appeared,
To you, as well.

He showed you those marks,
In his hands, in his side.
You then recognized your friend,
The Christ,
And proclaimed,
“My Lord, my God!”

Jesus then asked you a question,
“Have you believed, Thomas,
Because you have seen?”
“Blessed are those, who have not seen,
And yet come, to believe.”
Do you feel like you missed out?
Missed out on that blessing?
I wonder about that, Thomas.

Dear Thomas,
I didn’t have that chance,
To meet the risen Christ,
At least not in person.
Not like you.
You’re pretty lucky.

I hope we can meet,
You and I, one day,
Maybe have a coffee, and talk,
Talk about what it was like,
To realize, suddenly,
That someone you loved,
So dearly, was more than a man,
More than a teacher,
More than a religious figure.

What was it like, to know,
With all certainty, that the One,
Who stood before you,
Was the Son of God.
I’d like to know more, Thomas.

Dear Thomas,
A confession, at times,
I too, have doubts,
Sometimes belief, in the unseen,
Is hard, right?
You must understand.

When you put your finger,
In the mark of the nails.
When you put your hand,
Where spear pierced His side.
In that moment, Thomas,
Had you found what you were looking for?

Dear Thomas,
Please accept my apology,
I’ve been too hard on you.
You lost a lot, that day Christ died.
How terrified you must have been,
Losing your teacher, your second father,
Scared for your very life.
No wonder you were running.

But me? Life’s been ok so far,
I don’t have too much to complain about,
Lost a couple jobs, lost a couple dogs,
Been hurt by love, a time or two.

Tho none of that compares,
To what you thought you’d lost that day.
I’m sorry, for not trying,
To understand your pain.
Forgive me, Thomas.

Dear Thomas,
I wish you could have seen,
This bible, that we have,
Tho I don’t think you had the chance.

In it, you’d notice,
That right after your story,
Of doubt, of disbelief,
The author of John tells us,
The purpose, of this book.

Do you know, why this book was written?
It was written, so people, like me,
Could come to believe, that Jesus is,
The Messiah,
The Son of God.
And that – through believing,
We may have Life.

You know what?
Your doubt, your disbelief,
Has led to my belief,
My life, in Christ.
And that, I think, was the plan.
You played a pretty important role, you know.
Thank you for that, Thomas.

Dear Thomas,
You know, at some point,
I discovered something.
It took a while,
It took a leap, of faith,
But I got there.

I found that, Thomas, I too,
Believe, in the Kingdom come,
When all the colors,
Will bleed into one,
Bleed into one,
But like you, dear Thomas,
Sometimes, I’m still running.

But then, dear Thomas,
Those times, of running,
Those are the best times,
For us, both of us, to look to the heavens,
And proclaim,
To the risen Christ – that :

You broke the bonds and you
You loosed the chains
You carried the cross
Of my shame
Oh my shame
You know I believe it.

You believe that, Dear Thomas.
And, truth be told, I do too.
Amen.

Kelsey Theater pic