“More than Words”

The Upper Room devotional reflection for Saturday, January 15, 2022 comes to us from Mary Hunt Webb of New Mexico

24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus ), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” 26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” 28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

John 20:24-29 NIV

“More than Words”

As our instructor talked on and on, I saw a classmate squirm in his seat. During a break, he explained, “Sitting and listening is so difficult for me. I prefer doing, touching, seeing, smelling, and even tasting. I’m an experiential learner.” While reading today’s scripture passage, I recalled that conversation and thought that Thomas must have been an experiential learner. Although traditionally he has been called “Doubting Thomas,” I think maybe Thomas processed information best by receiving it through a combination of senses. Perhaps the report from the other disciples didn’t involve enough of his senses for him to process that information easily. Only by hearing, seeing, and touching could Thomas accept Jesus’ resurrection.

That same hesitance to accept the gospel sometimes hinders us today. We may regard sermons as boring because words alone exclude the other senses. For some, Communion fills that void through touch and taste. Others enjoy children’s sermon that often involve multiple senses. When we are understanding of those who receive the gospel in different ways, we fulfill the charge in today’s quoted scripture. We may need their understanding of our differences too.


Friends –

Like Mary Hunt Webb’s friend, I am an experiential learner. I learn by “doing” and reflecting on experiences I encounter, either intentionally or accidentally. When considering Wesley’s theological quadrilateral (Scripture, Reason, Tradition, and Experience), I find that “Experience” is my favored path to faith and to being in relationship with God.

I love that our VBS asks children about their “God sightings”, those moments when they see or experience God in their world. I do appreciate other forms of learning and gathering information through them. But I do find that sometimes, especially in large meetings, I “hear” better if I have some crocheting or knitting to work on while I am listening. Whatever learning styles God has given to us, it is important to learn and respect the styles and perspectives of all of those around us.

--Pastor bea


Precious Lord, help us to be understanding of the unique ways each person receives your good news. In the name of Jesus. Amen.

--Mary Hunt Webb

Prayer Focus:

Experiential Learners

Thought for the Day:

Using all my senses can open me to God’s presence.


Be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble

1 Peter 3:8 (NIV)