To see is to believe. At least it seems this way in John this morning. Thomas won't believ Christ has risen unless he can not only see but touch and feel it. Then and only then will he believe.
The community of John, whom this gospel was written for was struggling with this themselves. See in the early start of The Way they believed exactly what they heard from the followers of Jesus. Jesus was to return to them before the last disciple died. Now we know John was written well after the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem and well after the last living disciple of Christ dies. Why hasn't Christ come back? How are we to live out the faith if he doesn't? Does this mean it all was false? So as the community struggles with all of this believe and not seeing becomes what is important.
It's like answering this question for the church now. With dwindling numbers, no one flicking to the door, and more and more people saying they are spiritual but not religious do we doubt the life of the church? Do we dare outside of the doors to find our faith? How do we live and become? Is it in following the multitude and doing flashy contemporary hymns?
Do we let our fear of disappearing and becoming irrelevant keep us from fully exploring what God is calling us to do? Do we even ask the question or do we just stick our head in the sand?
When we start in this place we are not so different from John's community. Do we only have to see to believe in our future? Can we step out and go to action claiming our "I have seen the Lord"? Standing on the shaky ground of faith is hard. It asks us to question, calls us to and this is a frightening place to be. Do not be afraid, Jesus says to the disciples today. Are we Thomas? Are we the disciples too afraid to encounter our risen Lord?
We can either let these questions weigh us down or we can start walking forward into our own doubt and walk by the faith of what can be. See the Way didn't start out thinking they would become the dominate accepted religion. They just walked by what they had seen proclaimed by the disciples. They lived their lives in service and sacrifice to the communities they lived in. So the people saw Jesus through the way these people lived.
This is all a walk of faith. A proclaiming of Gods kingdom on earth in small ways. Through individual attention of seeing Christ in a life, in the way you live. When we say I have seen the Lord it should show in what we do and say to others. Because there is a hurting world outside our doors who needs good news and not judgment.
So this Sunday a day of either cowering in fear because we don't know if we're important or relevant. This Sunday where we can doubt the future unless we can touch and see it. This Sunday shouldn't we ask how our lives mirror this Jesus we believe in. Do we live as if Jesus is present? Do we live as if he loves us? Do we know Jesus through our own lives of example in serving others? Can we claim doubt and faith and walk on the solid ground of knowing we have seen and now we give the gift of helping others see too?