Scar Issue

Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” (John 20:27)

Poor Thomas. Always gets a bad rap. All he wanted was a little evidence apart from the manic blabber of his loopy comrades. I mean, what are you supposed to make of the overheated claim that the dead guy isn’t so dead anymore? Seriously, we’re talking grade B horror flick here. And haven’t there been enough disappointments already? The messiah turns out to be some kind of political milktoast—a freaking sheep in wolf’s clothing—and the Roman thugs still run the joint. So much for “thy kingdom come.”

So pardon me for being just a bit reluctant to take somebody else’s word for anything, especially since the “my words will never pass away” guy is so very passed away at the moment. Dead. Bought the farm. Pushing up daisies. Departed. Defunct. Done for. Liquidated. Perhaps a moment of skepticism is in order?

And then why does Jesus (dead guy) decide to show up when Thomas just “happens” to be gone for Chinese takeout? Is this a mere oversight or some slippage of the space/time continuum due to the wholesale violation of the second law of thermodynamics? Geez, Louise. You’d think the formerly dead guy wanted it that way. Everybody else gets front row seats at the command performance; Tommy boy, on the other dismal hand, gets unsubstantiated urban myth fodder. Heck, he doesn’t even get a grainy YouTube video to look at.

But apparently Jesus realizes that Thomas probably ought to see the show. After all, he is one of the Twelve, and though he’s a bit slow on the uptake, he’s not as pushy as James and John or a train wreck like Peter. Maybe Thomas deserves a special screening too. So—BLING!—Jesus pops by again to say hello. This time Thomas is with the crew. His jaw drops in disbelief as the post-dead Jesus comes toward him. “Yo, Tom,”  Jesus cracks with a wry smile. “See the scars, buddy?” Jesus thrusts his palm into Thomas’ face. “Talk to the hand, mister.” Thump—it’s over. Galvanized doubt melts in the heat of eternal disfigurement. Thomas falls to the ground nearly senseless. “My Lord and my God.”

Hard core to hard core. No psycho-babble. No abstract concepts. No philosophical argument. No cheerleading. No emotional claptrap. Just a formerly dead dude and some scar tissue. Occam’s razor to the jugular. Doubt gets ravaged. Phenomenon blisters phenomenology. It is what it is. That’s all it ever will be.

Look. I’m tired of the dialog of it. The theology of it. The explanations. The applications. The disputations. The accommodations. The revelations. The qualifications. The modifications. The negotiations. Keep it. All of it. I’m not convinced. Worse, it bores the faith out of me.

I’m with ol’ Tommy boy. I need the scars. The hand in the face. Those horrific, inexcusable lesions. The rest is mere proposition.

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One Response

  1. I don’t remember what my reaction was the first time I read this one, but, today, I gotta go with Thomas too.

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