“Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.” (John 20:29b)
Blessed are the ones, says Thomas,
to those who listen to him
who don’t need a sanctuary to worship God.
Blessed are those who don’t need a choir
to hear holy music,
and who don’t need to sit in a pew
to open their hearts in prayer,
and who don’t need a stained glass window,
or a preacher or even bread and cup
to find the good news.
Blessed are those who really touch
even with gloves on,
who really smile with a mask,
who can be kind on Facetime or Zoom,
who follow a livestream to find Jesus alive.
But also blessed is the Thomas
in every one of us
who acknowledges our longing
to hold someone’s real warm hand
not just the story of a hand
that reaches out to someone else,
and who wants to feel
not Jesus long-ago bleeding side
(we congratulate ourselves about that)
but at least to feel side by side
with other Christians
in order to be side by side with Christ.
Blessed is the Thomas in all of us
who lives with doubts and hopes,
and learns to let go of all expectations
when waiting to meet God.
Ernst Barlach (1870-1938) is one of the most famous sculptors of German Expressionism. After stays in France, Russia and Italy he returned to Northern Germany. From 1926 Barlach began to accept public commissions for monuments and memorials. The essence of Barlach’s art lies in his ability to express his devotion to and love for his fellow human beings in drawings and sculptures. During the Nazi era the sculptor’s work was considered “degenerate art.” His sculptures were removed or destroyed in 1933. Those that survived were restored in 1945.