“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.”
Dance of the Spirit
Thomas once a firm believer and follower of Jesus doubted Jesus’ return, wondering whether he could believe the words of others without seeing and touching Jesus for himself. Thomas criteria for belief were different than theirs.
When Jesus appeared a second time to the disciples this time with Thomas present, Thomas’ meet up with the risen Christ transformed his doubts into belief when he met a Jesus who loved him and invited him to touch and see in order to trust again. Jesus knew that Thomas needed a kind of evidence beyond mere appearance or hearsay and offered himself as physical evidence.
In the face of such love, Thomas fell to his knees in worship, believing so fervently that he later became the patron saint of India, having spread the gospel thousands of miles beyond the Roman Empire.
Some years ago I marveled at the up tempo encounter I would have whenever I would greet Diane after worship services. Dane was a new member of the church and she signed her e-mails with “gotta dance!” I asked her about that and discovered she was a professional dancer (jazz and modern dance genre). We talked further and she was interested in working with our worship committee to add liturgical dance to our worship services so that others could feel the surge and spirit of dance when encountering God in worship.
Thomas, the one who had doubted the sanity of his kindred disciples was soon dancing the resurrection gospel with them. He who had first doubted the power of his own community later became the creator of Christian communities throughout India. Doubts are a real (even indispensable) part of the Christian journey.
That’s okay, because God not only understands our doubts; God can use our doubts to break through barriers that keep us from dancing the Dance of Life. Even when we don’t know the dance steps, our dance-partner God can whirl us into the most beautiful situations, guide us toward ministries we have yet to imagine, and celebrate with us new steps of faith and growth together.