Doubting Thomas and The Prodigal a Pacific Rim Perspective

The Rehabilitation of Thomas by Janet Marsh, Kiwi, was written in Aotearoa. She reflects on her poetry, “Part of the task of Pacific Rim theology is redefining who we are, and what we believe, as opposed to what was handed down to us from afar.” It is followed by her reflection on the Parable of the Prodigal. She pushes her readers to see each person anew.

If there is a true task of Eastertide — and of the resurrection itself, it is to re-conceive, re-imagine, roll away the stones of old theologies and to listen to new voices.

The Rehabilitation of Thomas     John 20: 24-29

It need not be the paparazzi,
but a trusted colleague,
or a well-intentioned cousin.
Then ‘click!’ etched in a nano second:
an unbecoming portrait –
dutifully framed, wondrously displayed:
‘Doubting Thomas’
– yes, that was me.

Would you like to be a snapshot stilled in time,
sepia-ed in dullest, darkest doubts?
Developed in a dark room of anxiety –
and, dare I say, agony?
– for that was me.

Am I to be held in memorial
for doubting,
and daring to proclaim questions
which lay buried,
burdening my brothers’ hearts –
too charged with fear and shame
to be exposed to light?
– it would appear so.

But –
why me?

Why not Doubting Martha, or Peter, or Judas?
for they too were carved with troublesome headstones.
But I alone bear the epitaph.
May I ask,
are you courageous enough to challenge and change?
May I request,
that with new century lenses
you re-capture me,
re-digitalise my image.

For I am –
the one who was unafraid to question ,
the one who exposed his fears
– and through them knew redemption.

May the blessing of ‘Honest Tom’
be your camera.

Blessing the Prodigal Luke 15: 11-32

Then he laid his hands upon me
and with grief he let me go.

There was no turning back to spurn
the twins of envy and hatred
clenched in my brother’s fists.

What freedom! To live and love
with generosity of golden hands.

I freely gave and gave and gave,
until my purse was emptied
and my hands laid bare.

From parties to pigs –
my hands grasped husks
a sorry saga best left untold…

Till all that was left in my palms
was the DNA of love.

It was a long walk home.

Then he laid his hands upon me
and he would not let me go.

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3 Responses to Doubting Thomas and The Prodigal a Pacific Rim Perspective

  1. dabar96 says:

    I’ve often considered Thomas to be the most courageous of the 12 (11). He was the only one brave enough to venture outside the “locked door” behind which the rest trembled.

    Lots of folks also forget that, when Jesus told the disciples what his return to Jerusalem would cost him, Thomas said, “Let us go with him that we might die also.”

    Thank you both for sharing!

  2. Dee Ledger says:

    I love these. Especially the Thomas one. I don’t think that we should “freeze” people in certain ways, not “others” and not even ourselves.

  3. Maren says:

    Amen to that, Dee. And I certainly agree with todd that Thomas was one of the most courageous of the disciples!

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