Doubt or Curiosity
May 1, 2017
“Jesus is risen!” calls the worship leader – “He is risen INDEED!” responds the congregation as prompted. It may take a couple practice runs for the people in the pews to warm up to the Easter proclamation – but eventually they do. This exchange is then sprinkled throughout the service – a boisterous and energetic affirmation of the mystery of resurrection which is at the heart of Christian faith and hope. It is a lot to get our heads around this amazing story with all its ramifications. What is it we proclaim? We claim Jesus of Nazareth, God made flesh, who loved us enough to live with us, teach us and heal us. We claim a horrible death at the hands of those who were afraid of him. And then on Easter morning we proclaim his resurrection as an expression of the truth that God is bigger than ANYTHING – even death. THIS is a HUGE story – an awesome mystery that is bigger than we can fully understand. There are those who greet Easter with hearts full of faith and acceptance, but not all. Doubt – the state of having more questions than answers – is a completely appropriate response to the Easter proclaimation.
Doubt is not a bad thing. Some people would say that doubt is the flip side of faith, but that isn’t necessarily so. It is ENTIRELY possible to have faith and still experience doubt. How we deal with doubt determines the way in which the Easter story will speak to us. There is the response to doubt that says “this is TOO crazy, too impossible, it must just be a story”. The doubter turns away from the story, discards it completely a fairy tale of sorts not fit for a thinking person. Another response is to take the story and dumb it down, to find a box to fit it in. The person struggling with doubt climbs up into their heads to figure it out. They are willing to believe but need to find a way to resolve the cognitive dissonance. This kind of doubt, though not terminal, is a legitimate response to something this big. Finally there is the doubt that turns to curiosity. There is the faith that in this story, as crazy and inexplicable as it is, there resides truth, real truth, and that it is just too big for us to get our heads around.
This last kind of doubter may better be termed a seeker – because curiosity changes the energy of questions. The wonder and mystery of the Easter story is allowed to speak directly to the individual. We are willing to engage the questions and wait. We open our hearts to the ancient story and live with our questions. We want to know how it applies to their daily life. A seeker is constantly growing and being changed by the very QUESTIONS they ask. Our questions are a prayer that God will never fail to answer. We LIVE the questions, one moment at a time, trusting that at some point we may live our way into the answers. Sacred curiosity gives a whole new life, a joyful experience of faith and hope, to the one who is willing to live with it as best they can.
A life of faith is NOT a life without questions, or struggles, or hardship – but a life of faith is one where we live in the messy middle of our journey knowing we are not alone, trusting that Spirit will lead us, and curious about what might unfold. I invite you to join us at Lakeview over the next few weeks as we read the stories of those who encountered the risen Jesus and wonder together what those encounters have to say to our own journey.