Sometimes we don’t see what’s under our noses. We’re too busy focussing elsewhere.
Sometimes, we just can’t believe something when somebody tells us, because it makes no sense to us. ‘It’s impossible!’ we say.
And sometimes, we judge the people who don’t see what we see, who can’t understand what’s obvious to us. We forget that we’ve all been in that place too, at one time or another.
Perspective is vital. Arguably, it’s everything. Literally or metaphorically, our perspective totally alters what we are able to see, and to understand.
It’s only when we put ourselves in someone else’s shoes, when we imagine ourselves in that situation, that the intensity of the experience comes home to us. It’s only then that the story changes from words on a page, or something we hear, to something we can empathise with, or even experience for ourselves personally.
This Sunday’s gospel reading continues the accounts of Jesus’ resurrection appearances. He comes to the disciples who are in a locked room – you can just imagine their faces when that happened!! His first words – Peace be with you! – were likely very necessary. He then breathes the Holy Spirit on to them.
But Thomas isn’t there that day. He cannot bring himself to believe that Jesus has risen. Maybe he has seen too much death in his life. Maybe he loved Jesus so much that he cannot bear to believe it, and then endure the disappointment of finding it wasn’t true after all. We don’t know. But we can empathise with how difficult it can be to believe the seemingly physically ‘impossible’. How many times have you heard someone say, ‘that would take a miracle!’, implying that thing is not going to happen.
Jesus didn’t have to come back and see Thomas. He didn’t have to show Thomas that he was really there, physically alive – albeit in a form that could walk through doors and walls!! For the details of how that’s possible, quantum physics has a good explanation – but that’s another story.
But Jesus did come back. He loved Thomas enough to show him, to understand his pain and inability to believe.
I wonder, have you ever had one of those moments? When you couldn’t believe something, and someone came and showed you? Or when you could not believe in God’s deep and limitless love for you – and Jesus came and showed you it was in fact so?
Easter’s a good time for remembering this, and for remembering to be patient with those who struggle to believe the Good News. And for remembering that we have a part to play in sharing that wonderful Good News of God’s love, and that Christ is Risen. Alleluia!