Remember that commercial, “Sorry Charlie, only the best for Star-Kist Tuna!” Many of us can identify with that feeling of not being quite good enough, not the best. We have scars from not having a date for the prom, being that nerd that was chosen last for the baseball team, or not chosen for the drill team in high school. Being on the outside of the inside group is an isolating, lonely, very vulnerable place to be. Thomas was one of the original 12 disciples or apostles but he was not with the others that first Easter night. Perhaps grief kept him away or perhaps the weight of his failure at deserting Jesus at the Garden of Gethsemane or maybe he chose to go home. Perhaps he didn’t get the memo. For whatever reason Thomas was not present that first Easter night when Jesus appeared.
I find it very touching that John cared enough about this moment to report that Jesus noticed and sought out absent Thomas. Jesus could have depended on the others to tell Thomas the good news but he didn’t. Jesus returns a week later when the followers are gathered again. Thomas is present. Thomas’ absence was important – to Jesus. Often we convince ourselves that it doesn’t matter if we miss church or a meeting. Nobody will notice and possibly nobody will care. Perhaps, but your presence and your faith is important to Jesus and important enough for him to seek you out.
We talk about the church as the body of Christ and a body without a hand or an organ or any part is just not whole. Each person is important and contributes something to the whole. “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts!” is a quote attributed to Aristotle and used in modern Gestalt Psychology. I think we see the dynamic as the small countries of Europe plus, support Ukraine. A group has more “voice” than an individual. The followers sought out Thomas and told him their experience because Thomas was an important part to them. Thomas did not believe but he was informed and was there the second Sunday. AND Jesus sought him out!
You are important and have a gift to contribute. Jesus knows when you’re absent. Let’s show up so we can be part of a team, a team that will go on to change the course of history. Blessings as you play your part.