I saw an oystercatcher today, a large bird that inhabits tidal flats. A friend bought me a dish in a local gift shop with an oystercatcher painted on it, and insisted that we had to see one for the dish to be ‘authentic’ as a souvenir. I had to laugh with her; so often I too have my tests for authenticity; I must see before I can believe something is legitimate. I’m reminded of Doubting Thomas who couldn’t accept the disciples’ word that Jesus had appeared before them. Thomas insisted on actually witnessing the risen Lord, touching the wounds and verifying them for himself. Jesus didn’t even berate Thomas’ doubts; he understood that faith grows by testing and wondering, even by doubting. I thank you, Lord, for today’s oystercatcher sighting, and for your patient understanding of my own tests of faith. While I may doubt you, I know your love for me never wavers. I thank and praise you. Amen.