Six new stories added to Market Rasen's award winning heritage tour and website, focusing on “Wolds Women of Influence”
'The Meaning of Thomas'
Do you ever have times of doubt in your faith? Be honest, it’s nothing to be ashamed of and indeed can be quite healthy as it can lead to us asking questions and exploring our faith more deeply.
This week we celebrate the Feast of St Thomas, he`s one of my favourite disciples, because he`s the one who famously expressed his doubts. He`s also the down to earth, practical disciple asking the questions that others perhaps fear to voice, but questions that we too may want to ask.
For example, on one occasion Jesus is talking to his disciples before his arrest explaining that he is going ahead of them to his Father to prepare a place for them. Thomas asks the question on everyone’s lips ”How can we follow you Lord when we don’t know where you are going?” Thank you, Thomas, for asking this because we can read Jesus` answer in Johns gospel.
But Thomas` most famous role, is that of the absent and doubting disciple after Jesus` resurrection, it was Thomas who dared to doubt the presence of the risen Lord. When the others told him they had seen Jesus he says: “Don’t be ridiculous, he’s dead I saw it with my own eyes”, but eventually conceding, “Alright then, but unless I see him for myself and touch his wounds I won’t believe.“
Perhaps we too can identify with his doubt? But here’s the wonderful thing, Jesus allows Thomas to doubt; he didn’t desert him in his doubt, he’s not angry with him, he understands. When Jesus appears again to the disciples and Thomas is present, he invites Thomas him to touch his wounds, giving him precisely the proof that he needed to understand and believe. And the most amazing thing about this is the way that Thomas responds with one of the most profound proclamations of the whole New Testament, he says, “ My Lord and my God”.
Thomas, the one who doubted, is the first person to recognise Jesus not just as master but as God himself, and in doing so echoes the understanding that St John used right at the beginning of his gospel, “In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word WAS GOD”
Through all his doubt and pessimism, it is, in the end, Thomas who reveals to the others the true identity of his Risen Lord. So, we have Thomas to thank when we have doubts because, although we may not have physically seen the Lord, or to have poked our fingers into his wound, it is though the witness of Thomas, who doubted and then who believed, that we too can believe in the risen Lord
Our Prayer for the Feast of St ThomasAlmighty and eternal God,
The Walesby Group, set into the north western edge of the Lincolnshire Wolds, consists of 10 parishes, 10 worshipping communities and 11 church buildings. With a population of around 2100 we are a benefice of very small communities, living in the vast open spaces of this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. As worshipping communities we aim to grow ourselves in our faith and discipleship, support and engage with our local communities and bring new people to Christ.
We are blessed with beautiful buildings and faithful commitment from our congregations. As the group continues to integrate together, we are being enabled to offer a variety of worship and outreach styles. Lay ministry and leadership is key to all we offer, and encouraged as we endeavour to open the Kingdom and its values to all.
The Christian faith is focused on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. We also believe his death achieved something very special: the opportunity to reconnect with the God that we might believe in but might sometimes feel remote from.
We believe that Jesus was not just a human being but, in some way that we cannot fully understand, God as well. We believe in God the Father, the creator of the entire universe, and the Holy Spirit, who is the way we can experience Jesus today. Not three gods but one, who together are described as the ‘Trinity’ – a description not so much of philosophy but of the relationship at the heart of God.
In the most famous Christian prayer we pray ‘Our Father…’ This creator God wants a relationship with us, for us to be his children and to give us, as Jesus says, ‘life in all its fulness’ (John 10.10).