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Need Worship Inspiration? Authentic Affection for GOD on the Autism Spectrum Is Beautiful

Updated: Sep 29, 2023


I’ve had people ask me if Thomas “knows Jesus”.

It’s an interesting question.


There’s no pretense with Thomas. That’s one of the best and worst things about his flavor of autism. If Thomas doesn’t like something, he’s not going to do the polite thing and fake it. Christmas and birthdays can be a special kind of awkward fun. If he doesn’t like a gift he opens, he just moves on to the next one. I’ve learned to say, “Tell (fill in the blank) thank you for the gift” and not “Do you like it?”


Does Thomas “know Jesus”?

Yes because I’ve seen him worship.



“Worship is a way of gladly reflecting to God the radiance of his worth. This cannot be done by mere acts of duty. It can be done only when spontaneous affections arise in the heart.” John Piper


I’ve written about our church’s Beach Camp on many occasions. In the morning and evening, there is a worship time. When the worship band comes on stage, it is the habit of the high school students to walk to the front and sing. Think mosh pit without the mosh and, I should put singing in air quotes. They are high schoolers after all.


Thomas won’t have any of that.

Squished in a mass of people? Nope.

Closer to the vibrations of the music? Nada.

Being in the front just because everyone else is? Negative.


He will sit in his chair in the back of the room if he’s not feeling it.

He’s not going to just dial it in.


But “when spontaneous affections arise in the heart” as John Piper puts it, Thomas WILL worship. I’ve seen it. It might not look like anyone else. He wears his noise-defusing headphones. His body isn’t smooth in its movements. The clapping might not be with the beat. But if you’ve been there when Thomas worships, there is no mistaking what it is. It is Thomas’s way of gladly reflecting to God the radiance of His worth.


Does Thomas “know Jesus”?

It’s an interesting question.

I think Thomas knows Jesus better than I do. I tend to make Jesus complicated. I tend to over-explain add personal feelings and answer questions that no one asked.


Thomas knows Jesus in a way that is pure simple and lovely.


But would you join me in pondering a more interesting question?

Who has a clearer understanding of Jesus: Thomas or me?



“No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar or under a basket, but on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light.”

Luke 11:33


Video: Beach Camp Evening Worship July 2022


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Amy Duggan Castillo
Amy Duggan Castillo
Oct 18, 2023

I love this! Coming to Jesus with the faith of a child. Thank you, Thomas, for your example. I'm not into moss pits or big crowds most of the time, either.

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