On ‘Low Sunday’, the first Sunday after Easter we have the reading from St. John’s Gospel, about how ‘doubting’ Thomas met the risen Lord and was invited to touch his wounds.
Well thank God for Thomas, the one disciple who had the courage to say what everyone else was thinking but didnt dare say, the courage to ask the awkward questions that drew from Jesus some of the most beautiful and profoundly comforting of all his sayings. “We dont know where you’re going, how can we know the way”? asked Thomas, and because he had the courage to confes his ignorance, we were given that beautiful saying “I am the way the Truth and the Life” Here is the poem I have written for St. Thomas, which seems to fit with this Eastertide and also a sermon called ‘Touching the Wounds’ which I preached this Sunday at St. Edwards.
This sonnet is drawn from my collection Sounding the Seasons, published by Canterbury Press here in England. The book is now back in stock on both Amazon UK and USA and physical copies are shortly to be available in Canada via Steve Bell. The book is now also out on Kindle. Please feel free to make use of these sonnets in church services and to copy and share them. If you can mention the book from which they are taken that would be great.
I am greateful to Margot Krebs Neale for the thought-provoking image above, you can hear the poem by clicking on the ‘play’ button below or on the title of the poem and you can hear the sermon on my podcast site by clicking here: Touching The Wounds
St. Thomas the Apostle
“We do not know… how can we know the way?”
Courageous master of the awkward question,
You spoke the words the others dared not say
And cut through their evasion and abstraction.
Oh doubting Thomas, father of my faith,
You put your finger on the nub of things
We cannot love some disembodied wraith,
But flesh and blood must be our king of kings.
Your teaching is to touch, embrace, anoint,
Feel after Him and find Him in the flesh.
Because He loved your awkward counter-point
The Word has heard and granted you your wish.
Oh place my hands with yours, help me divine
The wounded God whose wounds are healing mine.
4 responses to “‘Low Sunday’: Thank God for ‘Doubting’ Thomas!”
Thanks for your wonderful sonnet – particularly the final couplet. It’s so important to face doubt honestly.
Malcolm, I just finished listening to your “Thomas Sermon” as I struggle with what to say on Sunday. I’ve never before heard you and it was a tremendously wonderful experience. I’m struck with how you stay with the Biblical and historical material and don’t throw in personal stories, etc. I know that has a huge place in preaching, but at times it’s overdone. And the sonnet, as usual, is profoundly moving. Thank you for all of this. Now…when are you coming to Portland, Oregon??? Your name is apt as well, the name of our latest grandson, Malcolm James Ayers, almost two years old now! All the best, Phillip Ayers
Hello Malcolm…I hope you don’t mind…I’ve just made a copy for our little church in Canon Frome, (rural Herefordshire – Ledbury), Revd John shared it with the Hopchurch Group Service today, held at Tarrington. We listened to part of the sermon online! using the speaker system installed by the late Revd Peter Hammersley…we were all enthralled, so thank you! And thank St Thomas too! He seems to me to be the Father of Scientific Enquiry – know the facts and believe!!
Bless you x
Debbie x 24th April 2022
A year or two ago, Revd John shared your lovely, moving sonnet about Mary meeting Jesus in the garden xx We put a copy in church too x
Thanks Debbie that’s absolutely fine. Glad your church have enjoyed the poem!