Faith, Matthew – and my friend Didymus

- No Easter, No Faith

Today, of course, is the Christians’ Good Friday. Local experienced attorney Leon Rockcliffe reminds that it is indeed a Good Christian Day second only to the greatest Monday of the resurrection.

So Good Christian, as I pay my inquisitive but genuine tribute to you all at this time be reminded by Mr. Rockcliffe that grief, mourning and the sombre, should all be tempered, mitigated by joy, hope, resurgence. The crucifixion, after all, was Christian Prophecy, fulfilled!

Over the past twenty–one years I’ve used this Day’s column to reflect, indeed to enquire about certain basic Christian concepts and personalities. Still, I strive to be better informed. On the relative cusp of three – score – and ten, as I am now.

Take faith. Every Good Friday I recycle my intrigue over the definition in the Bible’s Hebrews: Now, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen.”

As Christians pack their places of worship today I do hope they again contemplate all about their Faith and about the elements of the virtue that is faith – that without faith it is impossible to serve (their) God; that faith is the very channel through which God’s grace flows. Before or after service today, I enjoin Christians to refresh their minds on this subject – with Hebrews as one starting point.

But the few local Holy Scholars and Preachers who sometimes attempt to guide me and my soul, point to the Biblical evidence that both God the Father and later His Son, often lament the paucity of Faith amongst the people of Israel and even Jesus’ generation. Yet they were taught that of the three virtues – faith, hope, love – faith is that virtue making God’s love “eternal in salvation.” I have even read of three types or levels of Christian faith – factual, temporary and saving. Which brings me to my friend – the disciple/apostle, Thomas.

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Thomas – a right to doubt?

I suppose I would have been a “Thomas” in those days too. Now Thomas, called Didymus, upon hearing about His Master’s Resurrection, demonstrated/exhibited factual, seeing – is – believing faith.

Before I repeat the well–known incident which inspired the modernistic term “doubting Thomas”, it must be remarked that research by Biblical Scholars reveals that Thomas attracts a lot of mention by the gospel writers of the New Testament. He even wanted his eleven comrades to journey with Jesus to Judea to visit the dying Lazarus, so that “we may die with him’ (John 11:16).

But Thomas/Didymus outdid himself when told of the Resurrection. Doubting that, he said: “except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails; and I put my hands in the holes and in His side I will not believe!” (John 20:25). Jesus obliged then told a repentant Thomas that they who believed “without seeing are (more) blessed”

Thomas died a Believer and a Martyr, reportedly. What do you think of his position then?

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These things must happen – Matthew

I conclude my musings cum tribute to Christians and Easter by wondering why they get alarmed and terrified at our daily Devilish, traumatic global happenings when, according to Gospel Writer, Saint Matthew, these events were meant to occur. They represent some “order of things”.

Elementary research indicates that Matthew was once a tax collector for a Roman governor. He spoke both Aramaic – Jesus’ talk – and Greek. That alone might have qualified him to write one of the Gospels long after he had, reportedly, actually witnessed Jesus’ resurrection/ascension. And when some folks rebuked Jesus from befriending the one–time tax man, Jesus reprimanded: “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance”. (Mark 2:17).

As a writer/evangelist Matthew, once also called Levi, has recorded Jesus’ predictions as to the type of world we will know before the expected second coming! Just study Matthew 24 fully and be informed. And probably scared!

Jesus spoke of wars, kingdom against kingdom, famines, pestilences, earthquakes in strange, “diverse” places. Ironically, Jesus, as recorded by St. Matt, revealed that these bad things will happen in his name!

So much for Christians and their friends to consider throughout this festival of grief, hope and Salvation. As we enjoy Easter Eggs, Cross Buns and Parades, Hat Shows and irrelevant, virtually irreverent “Concerts”, let’s join true Christians in understanding that if they find it hard to believe the Resurrection, they’ll find it difficult to appreciate their entire faith. A Blessed Easter to Guyana.

Easter Musing…

Catch the Guyana Cook–up TV show on Easter Monday morning on CNS TV 6 also.

Is the Finance Minister capable enough to find ways around Budget  “Cuts”?

To those who wondered and asked about the extra brevity of last Friday’s offering, I apologise.

Til next week!

(Comments?  allanafenty@yahoo.com)