‘The one who loves me,’ says the Lord, ‘will keep my commandments’ and ‘this is my commandment, that you love one another.’ Therefore the one who does not love his neighbor is not keeping the commandment, and the one who does not keep the commandment is not able to love the Lord. -St. Maximus the Confessor*
Large crowds of anti-gay protestors gathered in the country of Georgia to disrupt a gay pride demonstration this week. Images and videos have circulated on my social networks and even one Orthodox priest on his popular blog hailed it as “taking action” to protect against the “disastrous consequences of ‘Gay Pride.’” All I can think about when I these images and read the accounts are the hundreds of same-sex attracted Georgians who have to watch their clergy, friends and families threatening to lash with stinging nettles and stones at people like them. Videos of thousands of men, women, and youth with numerous clergy mixed in show a terrifying scene. Over a dozen people were injured, mostly gay demonstrators and police. All of this makes me pause and wonder where Christ would have been in this scene.
Today, the first Sunday after Pascha, the Orthodox Church celebrates St. Thomas. We remember his doubt, his touching the risen Lord, and most importantly his declaration, “You are my Lord and my God.” The hymnography for this feast commemorates both Thomas’ doubt as well as the Lord’s revelation of his resurrection in the flesh.
“Today it smells like springtime, and new creation is dancing. Today the locks are removed from the doors and the disbelief of Thomas the friend who cries out, “You are my Lord and my God.” -Exaposteilaria for Sunday of St. Thomas
“O Thomas, according to your wish, handle Me,” said Christ to him. “Put out your hand, and be cognizant that I have flesh and bones, and an earthen body. Be not one who disbelieves. But rather with the others be confident.” And he in turn cried out, “You, O Jesus, are my Lord and God, and my Savior. Glory to Your resurrection.” -Praises from the Sunday of St. Thomas