Doubters Are Welcome!

This is the remarkable painting by Caravaggio titled, "The Incredulity of St. Thomas."No one shows the emotion, the detail and the awe like this remarkable painter. His version of the raising of Lazarus is one of my all time favorites and this is a close second.I'm choosing this painting this week because we are now "post-Easter." The Gospel writers reveal several incidents which all fall into the category of post-Easter appearances--those times when Jesus appeared after his resurrection.Thomas' hand.... watch it enter directly into the flesh of Jesus and look at his curiosity. Doubters are welcomed by Jesus--not shamed! Jesus did not shun Thomas or ridicule him and this is our invitation to also bring our doubts to the encounters with Jesus and not hide them or go sub-subterranean with them. Jesus lets us bring all of our doubts into his presence and somehow accepts them--accepts us--and loves us despite them.I am struck with the vulnerability of Jesus here. He's exposed. He's ready. He is not withdrawing. Always available. Always waiting on us. Always ready to take us--doubts and all. How he does this, I do not know but THAT he does this humbles me. What does this painting stir in you as you sit here and enter this amazing scene?In this post-Easter season, we need to bask in what has happened this past week. It's the soul's D-Day. It's the soul's most important holiday and not just the church's.Pause with this painting and be invited, like Thomas to truly enter the presence--the person of Jesus.Stephen W. SmithPotter's

One Week from Today

One week from today is Maunday Thursday---that scandalous night when Jesus orchestrated a dinner party that ended in his arrest and eventual death the next day. Of all the days of Holy Week, this one day is the most awful and most beautiful.Here we find Jesus eager to share a meal where the food would merely transport them to a deeper meaning of his true identity and what he was about to do. He told his companions that he was eager to share the meal with them--but why eager?There is a holy eagerness that we find ourselves drawn into as we journey towards Easter. An eagerness for the music to switch from minor keys to major melodies! In some churches, you can't say "Hallelujah" until Easter Sunday---all through the Lenten Season---imagine no Hallelujahs. We find ourselves eager to say and to believe in the Hallelujah of Easter.One week from today, we'll be on the final countdown towards Lent ending and Easter's gift to us.Am I ready for this change?What do I need to give attention to in this season of waiting?One week from the world began to alter its course.This is my Lenten Journey.Stephen W. Smithwww.pottersinn.comPotter's Inn

My Sabbath and Lenten Thoughts

I'm thinking tonight about my friend, need for this Sabbath Lenten Journey. Let me explain.Finally, I've taken the time to have my sabbath--my time of ceasing. I thought it would never come. My personal rhythm has been sadly interrupted and neglected due to travel, work and choices that have not always been wise or life-giving. So, it's been a life-giving day which included fasting from food in order to re-align my life and get my rule of life back in order. All of the things that I have intentionally chosen to do this Sabbath have helped to refuel my soul and helped what felt dead inside to come back to life. For such is the journey of Lent and when combined with Sabbath makes me glad--yet again to be alive.It's remarkable this week that across much of the Orthodox world, this week is the Feast of Lazarus. Sadly the protestant church has neglected this important story and event in the life of Jesus. Lazarus was actually resurrected a week before the week of Passion that Jesus experienced. He foreshadowed the death and resurrection of Jesus and thus, Jesus knew full well that only in a few days that he, too would experience this scandalous agony and ultimate victory.The Lenten Journey for me this year has forced me to be more mindful--more awake--to what is happening both inside me and around me. I started my Lenten Journey by asking this important question which I blogged about: "What in me that seems dead--needs to come back to life? Now, several weeks into my Lenten Journey I know the answer.It came to me today on my Sabbath walk on the Santa Fe trail. It was a beautiful day here in Colorado. I wore short sleeves on the trail and walked through the wind and it came to me....that which felt most dead.... felt a rumble of a tombstone being slightly--oh, so every slightly back and some light came in.Lazarus... you heard that too--didn't you...the faint sound of the tomb being moved back....yet still asleep in death... you waited for His Voice to all you. He called. You moved. You came to life. So, I too, wait on His Voice.This is my Lenten Journey!Stephen W. SmithPotter's