All Age Eucharist for
St Thomas the Apostle
First Communion of Edward Driver,
Francesca King & James Rushby
Reading John 20.27-29
Preacher Canon Robert Titley
Do you believe me when I say, ‘There is an animal in this church’? [A search by the children reveals a (clothes) horse behind the pulpit.] Who believes that this bag is really ‘fair-trade’? Sometimes you need to see something rather than just believe what you’re told, and some things you have take on trust, at least for now – though it will be good to check from time to time that the people who make these hemp bags for Tesco are indeed getting a fair share of the price.
Sometimes people are lazy and just believe what they hear. For instance some people believe that Sarah Pailin really said that global warming is just ‘God hugging the world closer’. She never did: it was the professional Pailin impersonator Tina Fey.
So what is Thomas’ problem? He knows Jesus died – he may even have seen it – so when others say, ‘Jesus is alive! We’ve seen him!’ he says, ‘I can’t take that on trust; I want the same as you, I want to see.’ Jesus gives him that, but then he says, ‘The ones who’ve really got it, the ones who are blessed, are the people who can believe in me without seeing me.’
And that’s what we have to do. Some may say, ‘You say God exists, that Jesus is alive? Show me, give me evidence,’ but they’ll have along wait. The conviction that God is there, that Jesus’ life isn’t over but is present with us now, it comes differently to different people, perhaps in a big experience, perhaps more gradual: you may come here week by here and get a sense that, ‘Yes, this is real.’ For the rest, it’s a case of living by faith, as we do in much of life, because most of the things that really matter (love, friendship) depend on trusting in what we can’t see.
Perhaps, though, Jesus realised that we would need something we to see and touch. This meal of bread and wine, it doesn’t prove that God exists. But if you wonder whether God really is close to you, really cares about, here you can see and touch, and say, ‘God is as close to me as this bread in my hands, and as I drink this wine the life of Jesus touches and feeds my life. Here I can taste and see that the Lord is good.’
This is the wonderful part of the Christian life that James, Francesca and Andrew are about to begin.