Doubts, fears, and the foundations of belief

Remember “Show and Tell?”  Whether in kindergarten, first, second, or third grade, the point was simple; every student was to bring in something to show to the rest of the class and tell about it.  A picture of a recent trip to Disney, a new ball glove, bike, camera, or book; something each one thought important to share with everyone.   I learned later in life that “Show and Tell” was a teaching strategy to get young people to face the fear of speaking in front of people and sharing our perspective while also learning to listen carefully to others and respect what others see as valuable.

While reading the Resurrection stories out of John’s Gospel recently I thought of “Show and Tell.”  Showing, telling, facing fears, and learning to listen are all elements of the stories in John, chapter 20.

Mary comes and finds a stone rolled away (she assume Jesus body is taken by someone).

TOMB1John see folded linen from outside the tomb, Peter see folded line and a head piece lying flat.

Mary sees Jesus, but does not know who he is, holding on to her theory that the body has been stolen. Until Jesus speaks her name.   (“Show and tell”)  And after Jesus’ shows and tells Mary he tells her to go tell.

Disciples gathered in a locked room for fear of those who might crucify them like they did Jesus suddenly comes face to face with Jesus.  “See my hands and my side,” (Show).  “As the Father has sent me now I send you.  Receive the Holy Spirit” (Tell).  

Thomas, not in the locked room, hears about the “Show and Tell” of Jesus but refuses to believe unless he sees and touches for himself.  A week later Jesus graciously comes to him with the evidence that Thomas longed for and he believed.  Though Jesus lovingly accepted and came alongside of Thomas in his doubts, he did push in a new direction. “Blessed are those who believe, even though they have not seen.”  Why?   Because there would be no more show and tell on the resurrection.   From now on people would come to faith on the basis of the witness of those who once saw and wrote the scriptures and through the voice of those sharing the testimony of God’s work in their lives through Christ (John 20:30-31).  

You see, we are all like Thomas; we were not in the room on that first Easter night.  We don’t get to see the stone rolled away, the folded linens inside the tomb, or the scars in his hands or in his side.  Like Thomas, we are called to believe in Christ, based on the faithful witness of those who were there and tell.  Jesus “Shows and Tells” them, so they will show and tell others after them.  And that is the way the Christian faith has been transmitted for centuries.  So “these things are written that you might believe and have life in his name,” and that which you have come to know, that you have been shown you are responsible to share with others.

Christ has been shown to me, how am I showing and telling others.  The testimony of the scripture and the Christian is the foundation of faith from one person to another, from one generation to the next.   How can I be part of it all?



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