Worship Pieces: Thomas and Psalm 1

At Peace, we are beginning a worship series on virtues as outlined in 2 Peter 1:3-11. Our call to worship comes from Psalm 1:

Blessed are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked,
or take the path that sinners tread, or sit in the seat of scoffers;
Blessed are those whose delight is in the law of God,
who meditate on the holy council day and night.

They are like trees planted by streams of water,
which yield their fruit in its season, and their leaves do not wither.

Blessed are those whose delight is in the law of God,
who meditate on the holy council day and night.

In all that they do, they prosper.

So let us meditate on the holy word; let us delight in worshiping our God.

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Many of you, I’m sure, are going with the lectionary reading from the Gospel of John, so I’ve posted the conclusion of my sermon about Thomas below. You can find the entire sermon here.

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Thanks to Thomas, we know what it looks like to abide with Jesus.

Thomas, we can assume, leaves behind whatever life he has grown accustomed to to traipse after this interesting yet itinerant rabbi. He watches Jesus heal. He listens to Jesus’ words that sound strange and yet true. He asks Jesus questions. He tries to understand what Jesus is up to. He offers to die with Jesus. But instead he watches helplessly as Jesus is arrested, tortured, and crucified. He keeps meeting with all the other disciples, worshiping and hoping and . . . he doesn’t really know what it is he’s doing. He just keeps doing it. And, finally, Thomas bears witness to the resurrected Christ. Thomas claims his eternal relationship with Jesus: “My Lord and my God.”

Believing as abiding.

When we understand belief as holding to specific doctrines, then doubt quickly becomes the enemy, the opposite of belief. But if belief is about abiding in relationship, then it makes sense that those with the most intense relationships will not only have–in our contemporary understanding of the terms–the most intense belief, but also the most intense doubt.

“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.”

This passionate, committed disciple is not Doubting Thomas, but Abiding Thomas. And his relationship with Jesus can serve as a model for our discipleship today. Thomas shows us that whether at any moment we experience belief or doubt, there is a deeper anchoring–an abiding.

We are called, like Thomas, not to give assent to a specific set of propositions, but to root our lives in our relationship with Jesus Christ. To walk with Jesus. To listen to Jesus. To talk to Jesus. To be willing to sacrifice for Jesus. To abide in Jesus and claim for ourselves, “My Lord and my God.” Amen.

 

 

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