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Thursday, April 05, 2018

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The Transformative Power of Doubt.
Many of the sermons preached on this lesson will be in praise of doubt, as they should be. We would be at sea in this world without our doubting radar being in good shape. Someone needed to doubt that the world was flat, or women were property or if  slavery was a good thing. With the many charges of "fake news" being hurled these days we'd better be skilled at sorting out what's real.

Thomas was a courageous disciple--pledging to follow Jesus to the cross, being martyred, legend says, in India as an apostle. His initial "doubt" was not a sign of weak character. He wanted to be sure, and Jesus doesn't condemn him for it, but by Jesus' presence transforms his doubt into faith.

The certainty of religious zealots can wreak havoc. God invites us to faith, not certainty. It is a sign of confidence in the Spirit's presence in our lives that we are willing to come to God with wonder, mystery, awe--and doubt.

Lord, give us the gift of growing in faith that comes from question and doubt. Let your spirit fill us with confidence in your presence… and that's sufficient. Amen.

Peter Rogness, '72
Retired Pastor, Living in St. Paul, Minn.

John 20:19-31 (NRSV)

19 When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you."
20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
21 Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you."
22 When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit.
23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained."
24 But Thomas (who was called the Twin ), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came.
25 So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord." But he said to them, "Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe."
26 A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you."
27 Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe."
28 Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!"
29 Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe."
30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book.
31 But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.

This God Pause daily devotion is brought to you by the alumni of Luther Seminary.