The story from this week's gospel has been given the unfortunate name "Doubting Thomas," because in Jesus' first resurrection appearance to the disciples after his death Thomas is the only one not around to witness to it. When he returns to his friends they report that they have seen Jesus alive, but Thomas cannot believe it. He says that he would need to see Jesus with is own eyes, and touch his wounds with his hands to believe. Looking back now it is easy to look down on Thomas for not believing that Jesus had been raised from the dead, but if we put ourselves in his place it is not that hard to imagine why. Can you imagine if a beloved friend or family member had just died and during a family gathering you go out to pick up lunch and when you come back everyone tells you that they were just there, back from the dead. Would you believe them? Even if you wanted to believe, which we can be almost certain that Thomas wanted to, there would still be at least a little bit of doubt until you saw them and touched them yourself.
In the end, Thomas' doubt plays an important role in the life of the group, because for an entire week this tight knit community lives in this in between place, with 10 of them believing and one of them doubting. Thomas' honest response to the unbelievable mystery of the resurrection gives his community the opportunity to live in the in between together, and learn how be a community without having to believe in exactly the same thing. In some way, this must have prepared them for the uncertainty of the ministry that lay ahead, learning how to be together, and lead, and do work in the world without Jesus. This week, pay attention to the doubts that arise in you or your group of friends. How do you engage with and/or make room for your own doubt? How do you hold room for the doubt of others in your community?