Sunday, May 1, 2011

What I Learned From Thomas and a Dog

Oh Thomas, my familiar, doubting historical figure. Today in Marsh's worship service, we read his story. I always feel behind the faith curve when I read his story, and Jesus praises those who can believe without seeing. I have always been one of those, "Trust but verify" types of people (to quote my father). So how can I relate to even Dean Hill's concept of a long lost friend living on in memory and love? I never knew Jesus personally, I never got to joke around with him, hear him teach, or poke his gut like Thomas.

As usual, I have a story:

My mother and father once had a basset hound named Bowser. I grew up hearing stories about how Bowser ate a whole cake leaving nothing but the knife on the plate, how Bowser would eat potato chips until he couldn't move, how Bowser had ear problems, and how he was such a good dog. I even heard stories about how Bowser died. One day, riding in a car with my parents, I burst into uncontrollable tears. I fell to pieces in the back seat of the car. I was weeping with all the love and devotion a little girl could have for a long time family pet that had passed away. The strange part about all of this, is that I had never even met Bowser, he had died before I was born. That did not stop me one bit from being completely overcome with emotion and grief for him. I knew what he meant to my parents, I knew what he meant to their friends, I knew that he was a good little dog.

So Jesus, the friend I never met, the teacher for whom I was never a student, that person I had never greeted on the street, is much like the little old dog, Bowser. Not in the sense that he was a family pet, but in the sense that even though I never spent time with him, he still has relevance to my life in stories and in meaning to those with whom I am close. I am indirectly his student.

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