Please come over here so that I can take a picture of all of you together with the congregation in the background.  What a great family photo.  Oh, we all look so great!  I am so happy with the way this photo looks.  I like to check a photo after I take it to make sure that everybody’s eyes are open and that nobody is yawning or looking the wrong way.  It looks great.  What do you think Carol?  Nice, right?  Do you want to see it too, Mary Lee?  It is a great picture, isn’t it?

I bet you like to look at photos taken of you, too.  Make sure that you are not making a silly face or picking your nose…  But I am not going to show you this one.  You can trust me that it looks good.  Even Carol and Mary Lee agree with me.  But you still want to see it for yourself, don’t you?

This is kind of what happens in the Bible story today.  Jesus shows up to see his friends, but Thomas is not there.  Maybe Thomas was out at the new skateboard park or buying a goat latte… all we know for sure is that he was not in the room when Jesus appeared to the other disciples.  Thomas did not believe them when they told him about it.  He said that unless he saw and touched Jesus, he would not be able to believe their story.

This is a big difference than you trusting when I tell you that the picture I took is a good one.  It is more like if I told you that there was a penguin in the photo.  But you would not believe that – you would have noticed if there was a penguin in the room with us.  You would want to tell your friends and family.  They would want to come see the penguin – just like Thomas wanted to see Jesus!  The good news for Thomas is that Jesus did come back.  Thomas was able to see and touch him to believe that he had returned.

It is always okay for us to ask questions and be curious about our beliefs.  Especially when it if something that does not make sense to us, like seeing a penguin in a family photo… Do you believe that? [I had a congregant hold a large stuffed penguin toy up in the background of the kids’ photo.]  Sometimes things that are difficult to believe end up being true!