Seeing the World through Resurrection Eyes
And Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has written about the Resurrection that "What is vital to Christian discourse about the resurrection can be stated exclusively in terms of what happens to the minds and hearts of believers when proclamation is made that the victim of the crucifixion is the one through whom God continues to act and speak."
In other words, the resurrection story, however we understand it, whether or not we can explain it, should make a difference in our minds and hearts. It's supposed to; that's what resurrection does. Resurrection stands up against the tide of sin and death, it proclaims hope over despair, and it tells us that whatever happens to us, thanks be to God, the end of things is not really the end of things.
And that should change us.
The Greek word we translate as "belief" in the Thomas lesson suggests elements of trust, faith, and reliance, but it also suggests an act. It suggests throwing ourselves into what we believe. So whether we are literal or liberal readers of scripture, whether our Jesus is all walky-talky like Perez or is a beautiful story that helps explain the way the world has changed over the last twenty centuries, we are called to believe in it.
Really believe in it.
Let it throw us off balance.
Let it change us, as it has always changed people: change our personal faiths and practices, change our lives in community, change our values.
Christian tradition—probably apocryphal, but still, too good a story to throw away—tells us that Thomas, who did not want to believe, traveled to India, where he preached Jesus as the Son of God and was ultimately martyred for those beliefs.
And it has happened again, is happening now --
To us, if will let it.
Greg Garrett is the author of works of fiction, criticism, and theology, including Faithful Citizenship from Patheos Press. He is Professor of English at Baylor University, and a licensed lay preacher in the Episcopal Church.