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Doubting “Doubting” Thomas

This morning’s gospel reading at St Clement’s was John 20:19-31. This is the passage in which the apostle Thomas, known as “the twin” to his friends, picked up the moniker “doubting”. It seems a little unfair to me. I suppose “not easily swayed or willing to be swept blindly along by the enthusiasms of the crowd” would be rather unwieldy as nicknames go!

I have always been a fan of the man and was pleased that Neville didn’t rub his name in disrepute in his sermon. Instead he pointed out that Thomas was the apostle who carried Christian faith all the way to India, establishing churches in Kerala that still remember his name.

By the time Jesus reappeared to the disciples a week or so after the first visit, Thomas had had plenty of time to consider how his friends might appear to be truly changed by the experience and was quite willing to eat his earlier, apparently sceptical words. Instead of doubt, he uttered the micro-creed that is the core of Christian faith: “My Lord and My God”. I wonder if, despite centuries of tradition that suggest a slight on Thomas’ name, this expression of faith is what John wanted his readers to remember about his friend and brother in Christ?

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