Saturday, June 9, 2012

Thomas' Song -- Ken Young

He thought ‘this guy got a bum rap’, as he mulled over the life of this fellow Thomas, whose name, rightly or wrongly, will probably always be linked to the word ‘doubt’. Ken Young was feeling a little like Thomas in 1992 as Easter approached, so he did what all poet-songwriters do when they’re touched by something – he wrote a song. “Thomas’ Song” was perhaps Ken’s way of saying ‘…this is my song too.’ Can you see yourself examining Jesus’ wounds, perhaps the way Thomas must have (as pictured here in Caravaggio’s The Incredulity of Saint Thomas)?

Hear what Ken says in his own words, as he reflected on the song’s genesis in June 2012:  
On Easter of 1992 several churches in the Metroplex (Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas area) joined together and celebrated The Celebration of the Resurrection.  It was hosted at South Mac (MacArthur Church of Christ) in Irving with over 3,000 in attendance.  One of the songs written for the drama was Thomas' Song.  I had long believed Thomas got a bad break as "doubting Thomas".  And yet, there are so many other indications that he was a man of great faith and conviction, even dying a martyr's death.  I saw a lot of each of us in Thomas' questioning as I sat down to put that song together.  I never thought it would find its way to a hymnal – (making it) more of a special song.  But people over the years have seemed to resonate with this song.

Ken’s words show that he knew a little more about the apostle than we could learn from just the Biblical account, so Ken’s a good history student, besides being a believer with a golden music touch. Thomas is thought to be the only apostle who journeyed outside of the Roman empire to spread the news about Jesus. The gospel’s spread to India indeed probably has its roots in Thomas’ post-resurrection life. Was this his other, more courageous side -- after all, he was known by another name, Didymus? How many of us generally know about the heroism of this ‘doubting’ apostle in India? Ken probably also was thinking about an earlier brave episode in which Didymus asserted that he was ready to die with Him (John 11:16). Yet, the ‘twin’ Thomas also showed his duality when he wondered aloud how he and his buddies could hope to follow Christ (John 14:5), exposing his cautious, even suspicious, nature. Of course there’s the most well-known episode with which Thomas’ character is often tarnished (John 20:24-28). Ken wants us to sing his confession of identity with Thomas, to admit that we too, in our human weakness, wonder how Jesus could be alive. Isn’t it good to know that Jesus didn’t scold and then discard Thomas, just because he lapsed into apprehension? Do you have two names? Fear, but believe too. Maybe your India is out there, awaiting your Didymus to show itself.

See the soloist Jeff Nelson in the drama on Thomas that was produced in 1992 here:

Biography of the apostle Thomas:

The sole source for the story on “Thomas’ Song” was an e:mail Ken shared with this song scooper on 6/7/2012. Thanks Ken!

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