Faith like Thomas, a mini-sermon John 20:19-31

Preached in Llanfair 27/04/14
Our human nature often needs the tangible, something to touch before we can believe in whatever it is. We like to be able to touch and feel items, sight, smells and tastes are important for us to be able to get experiences and to grow in believe. Even in our faith.

We heard today in our gospel passage that the risen Lord came to his disciples in that locked room, and stood among them. There was no doubt with any of them gathered that night, they had seen The Lord, he was there, real, alive, standing in front of them.

Easy for those who had been there, but for those not in the room that night, this was harder to believe.

Thomas wasn’t there. He missed out. And so when the other disciples told him they had seen The Lord, he came back with a bunch of demands.

Not only did Thomas want to see the Lord, he also demanded to touch Jesus: he wanted to put his finger into the holes made by the nails and his hand into Jesus’ side. Otherwise he refused point blank to believe.

Jesus came back for Thomas. And He invited Thomas to put his finger and his hand into the holes and into His side.

The gospel did not tell us whether Thomas actually did it.

But Thomas made the profound expression of faith when he declared before the risen Lord – My Lord and my God!

Jesus said happy are those who have not seen Him and yet believed.

But I would argue that we do see him. We are called to work in this world, to bring hope and light to those in darkness, to provide food and clothing to those in need, and freedom to those who are trapped. And Jesus also said that “Whatever you do to the least of my brothers, you did it to me” (Mt 25:40)

We see Christ every time we help someone in need. Whenever we act with kindness and love. Whenever we fight for what is right. We meet Christ in our day to day lives. Each encounter we have can be a Christ encounter. And we are blessed by this. We are blessed when we meet and recognise The Lord.

We, like Thomas like to be able to hold something real in our faith. But if we find this lacking I our lives, or in our churches, then we have to ask ‘What are we doing?’

This is an important day for Bro Ardudwy. This afternoon the wardens, PCC members and anyone else who wants to will be meeting to look at our vision, and our mission, as individual churches and as a whole group. We join in the Church in Wales’ vision check, as we start to discern where we want to be in 2020 and what we need to do to get there.

We know some of our churches are in trouble, and if we do nothing, if we continue on the path we are on, we know many of our churches will not survive. If nothing changes, churches will have to close.

We give thanks to God today for our faith, for all those changes we have to meet Jesus in each other and in our community. We give thanks for this place, and all that takes place here.

But we also pray that the Holy Spirit will come and guide us through these changes that we need to make, so that those Thomas’ who need to meet Christ physically, will be able to come to us and find him here. We pray for our faith, and our vision, and our future in this place. Amen.