Confused and Concerned
Last May Dave and I got two new kittens. They are sisters we named Carlton and Ritz. Because of their markings I sometimes think of them as Confused and Concerned.
Occasionally, I do something that they just don't know how to deal with.
For example, we have settled into a pretty quiet daily existence. Unless I have the TV on, the only noise is the traffic outside. But every two weeks I need to record a song for the chorus I'm in. I will spend a morning singing, loudly. And I will see the cats on the other side of the room staring at me with their looks of confusion and concern.
We get confused and concerned when things happen that just don't make sense.
Doesn't that sum up the period around Easter?
If you've experienced a death in your close family, you will know that for 10 days or so, you can be just kind of crazy. You may be hypersensitive to sounds or smells. Common things just don't make sense. You're walking around in a bit of a fog.
So, think of the original Easter. Jesus had been killed and buried. But then his body wasn't there. There were stories of angels. There were stories of body stealing. There were stories of seeing the dead man walking around. If the authorities were after Jesus, would they also in danger?
The disciples and followers of Jesus were confused and concerned.
It was hard to discern which stories to believe.
The Sunday after Easter is when we traditionally hear the story of Doubting Thomas. According to the Gospel of John, Thomas wasn't with the other disciples when Jesus first came to them. And he doubted their story. He wanted to see the proof for himself.
Why shouldn't he doubt it? The disciples and followers were raw with grief. Different stories were floating around about resurrection and body stealing. There were stories of earthquakes and angels on earth. It was a bit much to sort out.
But Thomas wasn’t the only one who doubted. Mark tells us "Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen." (Mark 16:14)
For all the teasing that Thomas has taken over the years, he is the first to refer to Jesus as "My Lord and my God!" The other gospel reference to "My God" is Jesus crying from the cross "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" Thomas may have needed physical proof, but once he had it, he had no problem acknowledging Jesus' relationship with God.
And Jesus didn't seem to have any hard feelings toward Thomas. "Jesus told him, 'Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.' " (John 20:29)
That's us, folks.
There are plenty of things in our lives that can confuse and concern us.
But our faith can be a calming blessing.
- Ann Iona Warner