April 27, 2014
John 20:19-31
1 Peter 1:3-9
Acts 2:14a, 22-32
Psalm 16


Show Me the Marks
Easter 2


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Mary Austin

This week’s lectionary gospel text features “doubting Thomas,” whose skepticism marks him as something of an archetypal 21st-century Christian. He clearly doesn’t want to be taken in by some sort of hoax or wishful thinking on the part of his colleagues, and so Thomas maintains that he won’t believe his fellow disciples’ account about Jesus unless he can experience it for himself. When he does encounter Jesus, Jesus’ response is to simply have Thomas touch his scars -- and when that happens, all of Thomas’s skepticism melts away. In the next installment of The Immediate Word, team member Mary Austin suggests that this story reveals a larger paradigm which provides an important lesson for us -- namely, that when we respond to doubt with genuine witness, belief is the inevitable result. The most powerful Christian witness we can offer, as Nadia Bolz-Weber once put it, is to “preach from our scars.” Showing one’s scars can be extremely moving testimony -- and Mary points out that we’re seeing numerous examples of that in the headlines, most notably in the actions of the victims of last year’s Boston Marathon bombing. Many of the survivors are returning for this year’s marathon, as if on a pilgrimage to demonstrate how they’re still standing tall despite the blows they absorbed to body and soul. Here’s a preview:

Show Me the Marks
by Mary Austin
John 20:19-31

The Boston Marathon is for the fit, the strong, and the prepared. Only elite runners can qualify (based on their times in other, approved races), and so it has its own mystique. This year, though, Boston belongs to the scarred. 

A year after the bombings that killed three and injured hundreds, people who lost limbs in the bombing are returning to reclaim Boston as a place of recovery. Survivors have been open about their injuries, recovery, scars, and prosthetic limbs, and all of that mix of human limitation and transformation is evident on marathon day 2014. 

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Immediate Word Team
(Click on photo
  for author's bio.)



George Reed


Mary Austin


Ronald H. Love


Dean Feldmeyer


Leah Lonsbury


Chris Keating