Home Service for 11th April 2021

Home Service 11/4/21

Lord Jesus, when I sit behind the closed doors of inadequacy, of anxiety, of doubt, speak to me through the life and witness of Thomas, that I may not withhold my love, praise and adoration, but in humility, joy and trust
proclaim you as my Lord and my God.

Amen.

John 20:24-29 Jesus Appears to Thomas

24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”
But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Reflection

I don’t believe it! (Victor Meldrew 1990)

In I Believe In You! (Ealing Studios, 1952) starring Cecil Parker and Joan Collins. Parker’s character (Henry Phipps ) has just returned from overseas after he had been made redundant from the Colonial Service. He begins a new career as a probation officer in post-war East London. A very middle-class civil servant enters an alien world! The film uses a semi-documentary style to follow the life of a number of basically decent at heart teenagers, even if they are also wild and rebellious. Ultimately, through hard but kind compassion, Phipps arrives at the point where he could say to the troubled youths in his care, ‘I believe in you!’ And that’s when their lives changed for the better.

Thomas is typically called ‘the doubter’. We should more accurately call him, ‘Wounded Thomas.’ Whilst he had not faced torture and death, he had witnessed the suffering and death of his friend, Jesus. In it, the Way had been blocked, the Truth challenged, the Life snuffed out. Thomas might not carry the wounds of a tortured body — but he carried deep spiritual and psychological wounds. Belief became practically impossible. He was unable to say “I believe in you” until Jesus reached out and made it possible and Thomas continued to be a strong and faithful follower of the risen Christ.

Tim Cantopher acknowledges in his book, Depressive Illness: The Curse of the Strong (Sheldon Press, 2003), that one of the cruel tortures of suffering from clinical depression is the feeling that no one (even fellow depressives) really understands what you are going through or knows how you feel. No one can read another’s mind. Invitations to ‘pull yourself together’ are not entirely helpful! A major milestone towards healing is not just found through counselling or medication but in hearing the words ‘I believe in you!’

Jesus simply asks that we believe in him. But belief is a two-way thing; Jesus reaches from the cross and demonstrates his belief in us.

 

Prayer

Loving God, present and near. You are beyond our words and our understanding.

Help us to remember that You are at once infinite, boundless, timeless and eternal but, at the same time intimately entwined with our lives.

You are with us no matter where we find ourselves.

When we have forgotten You, Lord, have mercy.

When we have failed to speak words of love, Lord, have mercy.

When we have neglected the need of another, Lord, have mercy.

Loving God, present and near help us to recognise Your presence and nearness with us. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

Benediction

Go, share your wounds and believe in your dreams.

Go, proclaim Jesus as your Lord and your God.

Go, bring peace and be agents of renewal.

Go, and be Christ’s disciples in the world today, at home, at work, at school, and in all the communities to which you belong.

Amen.

 

Suggested Songs/Hymns

Believe – Justin Bieber (Clever lyrics, challenging singing) www.youtube.com/watch?v=LCsBs11CprU

Jesus stand among us at the meeting of our lives www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWt5z4G7F1A

Shalom my friends https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KCreul4NU94

 

Imagery

The Incredulity of Saint Thomas https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Incredulity_of_Saint_Thomas_(Caravaggio)#/media/File:Caravaggio_-_The_Incredulity_of_Saint_Thomas.jpg

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