Barbara Cawthorne Crafton
Barbara Cawthorne Crafton is an Episcopal priest and retreat leader. She founded The Geranium Farm, an online institute for the promotion of spiritual growth.
I remember a film about Doubting Thomas that I saw in Sunday school as a girl. It was one of a series that our church showed us: the Bible story was read while a sequence of tableaux ran on the screen—it was not a motion picture, really, but more like a slide show. The actors were all attractive people with earnest expressions, and their faces stayed on the screen for a long time while the text was read. Sometimes the camera would zoom in, so that we could get a really good, long look at a particularly earnest expression. I think I would find it all a bit too much if I were to view it today. But this was a long time ago. I remember Thomas's face.
You may recall that this ending of the Gospel of Mark, the one that appears in the most ancient manuscripts of the book, seemed too abrupt to later copyists. Before long, 11 more verses had found their way there, a busy digest of post-resurrection experiences from a variety of sources: John's account of the scene at the tomb with Mary Magdalene, John's story of Thomas the doubter, a version of the walk to Emmaus, an account of Jesus' ascension, other material from Luke/Acts. These are entered almost as bullet points. But the tacked-on verses need not concern us here--the Revised Common Lectionary walks away from them politely. We are left with the bald confusion and fear at the end of the ancient tale, from a time before it was canonized and liturgized.
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