Sunday, May 1, 2011

What is in a name

Who here has ever had a nick name?? C’mon growing up what did they call you don’t be shy let’s hear some...I had a few . . . my folks called me Charlie brown because whenever I flew a kite it would crash, get stuck in a tree or if I finally managed to get it in the air it would keep going the string would brake and i would never see that kite again. In high school my nick name just became sea no not the letter c but sea as in sea shore. Many of the disciples had nick names or descriptions to help keep them all straight
1. Simon Peter: Renamed by Jesus to Peter (meaning rock
2. Andrew: The brother of Simon/Peter, a Bethsaida fisherman, and a former disciple of John the Baptist.
3. James, son of Zebedee: The brother of John.
4. John: The brother of James. Jesus named both of them Bo-aner'ges, which means "sons of thunder'.'"[Mk 3:17]
5. Philip: From the Bethsaida of Galilee[Jn 1:44] [12:21]
6. Bartholomew, son of Talemai; usually identified with Nathanael, who is mentioned in Jn 1:45-51.[15]
7. Matthew: The tax collector.
8. James, son of Alphaeus: James the Less is a figure of early Christianity. He is also called "the minor", "the little", "the lesser", or "the younger", according to translation. He is often confused with James the Great and may or may not be James the JustGenerally identified with "James the Less",
9. Simon the Zealot: you might recall him in super star he wants jesus to get the romans out thus the name zealot for they were a group who wanted to expel rome from the judean area.[18]
10. Judas son of James, aka Thaddeus he is the "mystery" apostle because he's the one the synoptic gospels disagree on. Mark and some versions of Matthew list him as Thaddeus; some versions of Matthew list him as Lebbeus;.
11. Judas Iscariot: The disciple who later betrayed Jesus and his name became identical to betraying
12. Thomas: Judas Thomas Didymus - Aramaic T'oma' = twin, and Greek Didymos = twin. Doubting Thomas.
Wow doubting Thomas how would like to be stuck with that name and then have it mean something. I mean really mean something:" If you look up this phrase in the dictionary, you'll find something like: "one who habitually or instinctively doubts or questions." A "doubting Thomas" is somebody who always lags behind in matters of faith. A "doubting Thomas" always needs more proof, more time. A "doubting Thomas" has a hard time trusting others.

I honestly believe Thomas gets a bum rap here. I mean was he the first to doubt what others told him? I mean let me throw a quote at you and tell me who it is about “Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him say; ‘You of little faith, why did you doubt?’” What story is that from. . . .Mathew 14:31 Jesus walking on the water and who falters??? Peter “the rock! Yes he sank like one

Then again in Luke we hear how the women at the tomb learn of the resurrected Christ and told all they had seen to the Apostles then the book states “but these words seemed to them an idle tale.” It isn’t only Thomas who doubts but they all do. Peter even has to go see for himself the empty tomb.

In Luke when Jesus suddenly appears before the 11 he states “why are you frightened and why do doubts arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see.” And even after that the bible states that “they were disbelieving and still wondering.” In John’s gospel when Jesus appears to the 10 he shows them his feet and hands in order that they may believe it just happens that Thomas wasn’t there with the crowd.

Interesting note if you remember the video Gospel of john from a couple of weeks ago. As Jesus is telling the apostles to get ready to head back to Judea to see Martha and Mary the 11 voice their fears for they barely made it out of there alive the last time but it is Thomas who states in“John 11:16
"Let us also go, that we may die with him."
It sounds like Thomas had a pretty good grasp on Jesus mission and what the outcome would be. So here is a man Nicked named the Twin. Why he is called the twin is not clear but by the comment above it sounds like wherever Christ went and whatever Christ was doing Thomas was right there ready to go right alongside him.
That is until The Garden of Gethsemane . . . After the arrest, trial and crucifixion all the men fled
They were heartbroken disillusioned and in despair.
But then, on Easter morning, some women claimed that the tomb where Jesus had been buried was empty, and that they had even seen him alive. "Nonsense," Thomas must have figured. "Nothing but delirium. Wishful thinking!" Yet that evening, while Thomas was away from the group, Jesus appeared to the other disciples. When he returned, they excitedly reported to him : "We've seen the Lord."
Doubting Thomas
But Thomas didn't share their joy or confidence. He said to his fellow disciples, "I won't believe it unless I see the nail wounds in his hands, put my fingers into them, and place my hand into the wound in his side." There you have it: doubting Thomas. And it stuck!
But do you blame him? Remember, he had been burned before, big time. He had gone way out on a limb for God, and the limb broke off. What had that got him? Discouragement. Defeat. Devastation! Thomas wasn't going to fall into that trap all over again. No way. This time he was going to be sure before he invested all that he was in some spiritual Ponzi scheme. (By the way, Charles Ponzi deserves to have his name associated with a fraudulent get-rich-quick scheme.)
We have just come through Lent and Holy Week, periods of serious spiritual labor. We had more intense reflections. . .reflections around the wreath focusing upon the poor, the hungry, Marriage equality, Peace, Healing of the ill, and the earth herself. We added the narratives of the passion to reflect upon before proclaiming absolution. The reflections focused on how we treat the public, how we serve as employers and work as employees, we looked at ourselves and pondered if we ever get caught up in a mob mentality going along with the crowd, We asked if we ever turn away from what we know is right, we looked to see if we were perhaps guilty or do we share our story and witness to God accordingly and finally last we proclaimed we are Guilty and, because of Christ we are free and forgiven! That was a lot of spiritual work and it would be easy to rest in the spirit of the risen Lord and just state ahh it is Easter.

Yet today’s reading calls to us to say: “Wait. There is work to be done. There is work
yet to do.” This point is driven home by the fact that this reading is the Gospel lesson for the Second Sunday of Easter in all three years of the lectionary cycle. Whereas the spiritual work of Lent could be conducted in a more private manner, the work of resurrection life is more communal, more public
Many readers of this passage have noted traces of early Christian liturgy or worship,

Liturgy is a rite or system of rites prescribed for public worship.
The first thing we notice is that the disciples are already in the habit
of assembling on the Lord’s Day (first day of the week). Despite their fear
and confusion, these earliest disciples find it necessary to gather as a community.
Even the decision to gather is part of our liturgy as the people of God, an act of worship. If we wish to probe the meaning and reality of the risen Lord, it is going to happen
most fully when we are gathered for the work of worship.
In this liturgy of resurrection, as the disciples are gathered, Christ
appears—bearing the marks of his passion. Don’t miss that. Jesus, from
the beginning, exposes his wounds for the sake of those present, effectively
allowing them to find their faith again. Christ knows that these men must see to believe. This liturgical appearance involves observing the body broken “the bread the bread of a new covenant broken for you” this event takes the symbolism of the last supper and makes it concrete and real for the apostles as for us. Of course for Thomas it happens eight days later.

When, after eight days, Jesus finally appeared to the disciples in Thomas's presence, he addressed the "doubter" directly: "Put your finger here and see my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Do not Doubt but believe." (v. 27).
Do you know what's missing here? The rebuke! The guilt! The lecture on not doubting! It's not here. Jesus doesn't chew Thomas out for his unbelief. Rather, he gently and mercifully offers Thomas exactly what he had wanted. Jesus met Thomas right where he was. And he offered himself to Thomas: "Here, touch me, and believe." The same offer he made to the other ten the week before. It is reversing the last supper. At the last supper “Seeing isn't believing... Believing is seeing” (to quote the little elf Judy from the Santa clause) here after the resurrection after being tested and tried and heartbroken the belief comes after seeing but what is the proclamation to us ”Blessed are those who have not seen and yet come to believe.”

I want you to notice something else absolutely crucial here. Thomas said, "My Lord and my God!" This makes him the first person in the Gospels, perhaps even the first person in all of history, to confess Jesus not only as Lord, but also as God. Doubting Thomas, or better yet, honest Thomas became faithful Thomas, bold Thomas, believing Thomas.
This is where honesty with God leads. This is the outcome of an open confession of doubt. This is not pretend faith. This is not the sort of Christianity we wear as a costume to impress others. It's a 100% genuine faith that issues from the deepest recesses of our soul. It's a faith that transforms our lives. It's the sort of faith that I want. And I expect you do too.
The final thing I want to point out in this passage is the giving of a blessing: “Peace be with
you” (John 20:19, 21). Peace is the fulfillment of Jesus’ earlier promises.
Scholars point out that Jesus’ statement is not a wish or hopeful intention;
it functions grammatically as a statement of fact. The liturgy of resurrection requires that, as followers of Christ, we work for and proclaim peace. The peace the disciples receive at Christ’s first appearance, the peace given to Thomas so that all doubts are erased and he is granted to proclaim the Truth of Jesus is God and now “As the Creator has sent me so I send you” The great commissioning. After all doubts and fear s are assailed this can no longer remain a secret one must go out and proclaim to the world that Christ is God, risen, Alive, he understands the human condition for he has been through it all and so At the last supper “Seeing isn't believing... Believing is seeing” again I say here after the resurrection after being tested and tried and heartbroken the belief comes after seeing but what is the proclamation to us ”Blessed are those who have not seen and yet come to believe.” A final thought from Carolyn Arends. She says, “The world offers promises full of emptiness – Easter offers emptiness full of promise.” She’s referring to the empty tomb, the empty cross and the empty grave clothes. Easter offers emptiness full of promise. My message today: embrace the promise. Believe where you have not seen. And know this: the God who gave life to Jesus will also give life to you. God asks your belief. God expects your trust. That’s where it starts. The proof will appear in your life. Then you must go out and proclaim it live it boldly and fully Amen.

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