Discerning Thomas

Answers. So often we are looking for answers. As a clergy person, I am often expected to be an expert on many things: what the Bible says; where to find different resources in our community; how to reach out to our neighbors; what is "cool" to youth and young adults; what happens to us when we die; and so much more. Many people are seeking answers. I think too, with those answers is a desire for certainty, for security, for a promise that things will be ok.

When it's appropriate, and when I can, I offer my answer to such questions, but I've learned a few important things. First, some questions have no answers or multiple answers. When I speak, I need to take into account whether the answer I share is universal, or if it is limited to my own perspective and experiences. Second, there are so many things I don't know! In the age of the internet, when there is so much information at our fingertips, we are still limited in our capacity to have, hold, and give information. And that's ok! We're not robots! AND even if we were, some answers are about more than facts. Some answers are felt and not even a robot can always answer correctly to the feelings in our hearts. Finally, sometimes the answers we're seeking are less important than the meaning of the questions we ask.

Questions. I've come to love them. So much can be said in a question: what matters to you, what you are looking for, what you hope to know. While the pressure to provide answers can be overwhelming, the opportunity to ask questions has been life-changing. Questions have allowed me to learn more about the people and world around me. They have allowed me to ask for help and admit when I don't know something. They've demonstrated to the people around me that I'm interested in them and their lives and want to know more. I love a good question!

But questions aren't always welcome. Sometimes people assume we should already know something or see our questions as a form of doubt. Too often in religious communities, questions and doubts are seen as a lack of faithfulness. What if that isn't the case at all? What if questions are prayers, prayers to connect and understand more? What if questions are invitations to expanding our view of God and humanity? What if the questions are actually sometimes the answers themselves?

This Sunday, we read the story, so often titled in Scripture as "Doubting Thomas", but maybe, just maybe, there's much more to Thomas and the story then we give either credit for. Bring your curiosity and your questions this Sunday (and each)!

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