I remember making someone cry – not the baby at the baptism, that’s far too easy! I suggested once at a youth group that those who did not have any doubts about their faith whatsoever were really kidding themselves and if they would want to grow in faith then a good deal of doubting would suit them down to the ground. Oops! Much like the child with their fingers in their ears and their face screwed up into a ball yelling la la la la la I can’t hear you – actually I think a few adults might behave like this as well. We remember Thomas on Low Sunday, often called doubting Thomas, but I prefer Maggi Dawn’s image of ‘Honest Thomas’.
“Our Thomas was a man of integrity; he didn’t pretend to believe things that he really didn’t; he didn’t say the words just to feel part of the crowd. It’s much harder to own up to being the odd one out among a group of friends, and it was brave, when he found that he was the odd one out, not to go off and be by himself. For a whole week he stuck it out, he went on meeting up with the other disciples. Their faith and stories of visions must have made him feel uncomfortable and left out. But he still hung around. Eventually, Jesus came and met him in person. His integrity paid off; when faith came to him as a gift, it was his own and not someone else’s.”
Jesus sneaks up on each of us in different ways. Each of us must meet Jesus for ourself in our own way. If we doubt the faith that others offer us, then we must wait patiently for it to come to us, some may miss it if there are not those around them to help them to see Jesus for themselves.
Last weekend 39 candidates were confirmed, what they confirmed was the baptismal promise: I believe and trust in one God; Father, Son and Spirit. But they didn’t confirm it blindly, they had prepared themselves to get to that point at which they were able to say yes, this is now my faith, just as Thomas was finally able to believe.
As we come to Baptise Jessica today, we baptise her into our faith, but knowing that someday she will have to make the choice for herself. Our task therefore is, not to teach her not to doubt the faith, but to nurture and give her the opportunities to meet Jesus so that the faith may belong to her as it belongs to each of us. And if it that means doubts and fears along the way so much the better for being honest.