Sunday Message for 24 April 2022: “Don’t Doubt Thomas”

Easter is the preeminent miracle of Christianity and perhaps you’re still basking in its glow. Yet for many people it can be easy for enthusiasm to wain after all the excitement. Perhaps even doubts about faith can creep in. It’s as if the energy of holy days risks emotional and spiritual exhaustion.

Some folks seem to say to themselves “I’ve done my duty by coming to church on Easter; now leave me alone until Christmas Eve.” This odd statement is not simple cynicism because it reveals how an alarming number of people feel toward church.

America’s growing aversion to religion has many potential sources, including the polarization based on politics amid escalating cultural controversies. The challenge of disinterested and hostile attitudes toward church underscores the need to help people cultivate a healthy spiritual life. Are you prepared for this task? Are you willing to embrace God’s ongoing transformation to help you reach people more effectively?

If you struggle with your spiritual life then consider that people inside and outside the church alike face doubt, the highlight of today’s message from John 20:19-31. Doubt can be a problem when it interferes with faith. Doubt is also harmful when it promotes a feeling that a relationship with God isn’t worth the trouble. It’s not unusual for feelings about God to wax and wane along with the seasons. Sensing God’s redemptive presence is desirable yet trying to force or artificially maintain a spiritual high isn’t a remedy for doubt.

The mission and mandate of your church involves overcoming anything that stands between you and spiritual vitality. Therefore God invites you to rally your resources and counter negativity both inside and outside church walls. There’s enough blame to go around for the problems in many churches but rather then pointing fingers it’s more helpful to fight a more pernicious enemy, the slow death arising from apathy (which is related to doubt). Even people who’ve grown up in the church are not immune to spiritual lethargy or to the corrosive fatalism of a defeatist attitude.

To achieve all that God has for you we need to strengthen one another and rally behind a unified, enthusiastic message, one which communicates to the world that we have a life-enhancing message to share. Even skeptical people can enjoy a better life by accepting God’s redemption. We must raise our morale while helping encourage people who either have no faith or whose faith has waned. We must work tirelessly to help all sorts of people draw closer to God.

The Christian life is not without questions and doubts. Enter doubting Thomas, that early disciple and friend of Jesus who didn’t believe that his Lord had resurrected. Jesus came back one day but Thomas wasn’t convinced because he was out of the house and hadn’t yet seen Jesus. Aside from giving Thomas a title such as “Doubter-in-Chief,” Thomas might also be labeled an empiricist, which refers to someone seeking verifiable evidence through observation.

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