Thomas the Apostle is beloved. Every Orthodox ode sung in his memory is joyful.
Willingly he contributed from unique viewpoints, experience. Willingly he followed, believing Jesus the long-awaited Christ. Jerusalem-bound, everything in him recognized death there, yet he said, "Let us go and die with Him." Such sentiments preluded voices of martyrs remembered for such words: "We shall all die, so let us die properly!"
The martyric phrase brings to mind Klingons from Star Trek. Fanciful, sci fi aliens, a tough race of beings with wrinkly foreheads (so depicted, at least, in Star Trek movies). Epic-ness in them comes from human race attributes glorifying "honorable" warfare; attempts to defeat a homeland's enemies, to right wrongs, perhaps, ultimately, to bring peace.
The Apostle Thomas--no Klingon, real person--loved and was afraid and had holes in his paradigm, just as I do and am and do. His fellow apostles' report of Christ, alive, Thomas simply couldn't take. Too much, beyond him. These friends, these fellow pilgrims, known well three years, yet Thomas knew the deception of men and women. Judas recently proved again their treachery; their ways could scorch his soul.
Then hidden away with the others, Thomas did at last see what they saw. The moment arrived, right and ripe for his uniqueness, for the faith of those to follow. Entering their enclosure, Christ let Thomas explore His recent mortality. Handling the proofs, experiencing the One, risen, Thomas blurted, "My Lord and my God!"
This phrase, from this man, the overflow of real experience. The wonder of exploration grasped between fingers fearing, loving, amazed.
Experience is something. Not magic nor imagination, even if unimaginable before. Like being born. Like finding there is more to do, more places to follow, more death to face, more living. Thomas sailed to India; he labored long. His love, servitude, humility shown for others coming. Seeking true health of true spirit. Standing over against invisible soul-scorchers, he entered and continued in a wholeness, beyond the sum of pieces, the culture of true peace.
"By thine unbelief thou didst make known Christ's resurrection, and by touch thou wast assured of His holy passion, O all-glorious Thomas; and now pray that we be granted peace and great mercy. ~ from a hymn for St. Thomas