Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.”
Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” John 20:24-27
This week’s Lenten scripture speaks to the power of faith and the importance of Easter and Christ’s resurrection. With this week also the one year anniversary of the Gulf Oil Spill, I can’t help but think about this scripture passage in the context of the Gulf Coast, its communities, its culture, and its path to recovery. In John 20:29 Jesus asks “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
No matter how challenging life becomes for those in the Gulf Coast, families, communities and congregations remain, ready to work for recovery and willing to wait for the rebirth and resurrection of the place they call home. Many have not even begun to see signs of rebirth – employment is scarce, the future and health of the Gulf is unknown – but they believe in resurrection and recovery. They are truly a blessed people.
With little money for support for recovery – families and neighbors that have left, and the constant reminders of the pain and suffering the oil spill has and will continue to cause -there are many questions surrounding the future of the Gulf Coast. But those that remain have hope and, most importantly, they have faith. Faith in God, faith in the future, and faith in their ability to overcome the challenges before them. They have no yet seen – and yet they believe. They are truly a blessed people.
As you move through this Holy Week, take time to remember and give thanks for Christ who died for each of us. But also take time to give thanks for those who remind us daily of Christ’s teachings and push us to go deeper in our faith.
May God’s grace be with those in the Gulf Coast who have lost so much – but have never lost their faith.