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03/07/2017

A spiritual comment and prayer to begin the day with Canon Stephen Shipley, Radio Producer and broadcaster.

2 minutes

Last on

Mon 3 Jul 2017 05:43

Script

Good morning. The best definition of sainthood I’ve come across is someone whose background hasn’t been adequately researched! Thomas, today’s saint, certainly falls into that category. Not much is known about him. He’s a bit of an enigma. When his feast day was observed on the shortest day of the year, he used to be described as ‘very wintry.’ But now he’s been moved to a date in high summer, and the change in temperature has done him a lot of good. Mind you, he’s still known as Doubting Thomas which can be rather negative. It doesn’t have to be though. I remember the first time I came across David Jenkins, the controversial Bishop of Durham in the 1980s who, like Thomas, wasn’t afraid to express his reservations, his doubts, in his search for faith – with the result that when York Minster was struck by lightning three days after his consecration, many people thought it was God’s divine punishment because the Bishop wasn’t fervent enough. No, on the contrary, David Jenkins was a man who acknowledged there’s more diversity of belief than is often recognised. Yes, there is a place for creeds and confessions, but there’s also a place for freedom and exploration. Faith isn’t a type of straitjacket into which we all must fit. What mattered to Thomas wasn’t that he saw Jesus in the particular way that he appeared to the other disciples, but that he recognised his Lord and his God with the renewed vision of faith. And that’s why I admire St Thomas. There are questions I still want to ask, mysteries I want to fathom, doubts that I cannot at present resolve. That’s why I pray for the commitment to go on looking for the answers – and the patience to wait to find them.  Lord, I believe. Help thou my unbelief. Amen.

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