At my church on Sunday May 19th I spoke of the twin issues of faith and doubt and of how they can be seen as opposite sides of a single coin. This paradox is best summed up in the words uttered by a father pleading for Jesus to heal his son “I do believe, help my unbelief” (Mark 9:24).
Later in the week I gathered with a small group of friends to explore the issues raised in more detail, and our first thoughts were that we all struggle to some degree with this dichotomy. But gradually another perspective emerged in our conversation – that our Christian faith is not so much a truth proposition to be accepted, but rather a person to be encountered!
We reflected on the lives of two notable Christian men Dominic Voillaume and Henry Nouwen both of whom set aside their lives of learning and religious study to serve the weakest and poorest, the homeless, the alcoholic, the drug addicted, the mentally ill and the severely disabled; both men putting down their wrestling with issues of faith and doubt to live out lives of servant hearted love in the name of Jesus.
I am reminded again of a poem that I have quoted previously (Jan 2018) which reflects on this same dilemma and which can be read below.
I also thank God that I do not travel the road of life on my own, but amongst fellow pilgrims of faith with whom I can share life’s ups and downs and our mutual encounters with the Maker and Saviour of all.
Student or Disciple
To study the written Word and know its form
Its every twist and nuanced turn;
Quotations flow from expert lips;
The cut and thrust of learned argument.
The cap and gown of doctorate so long striven for;
The glittering prize of religious academe;
Acquired wisdom transformed to power and prestige.
To follow the living Word and know His face
The twists and turns of the more narrow way;
To speak as He would guide your childlike tongue;
His Spirit double edged - true cut and thrust.
Yet not for fame or earthly accolade,
No recognition save love from those in need;
Embodied wisdom lived out in weakness and in grace
Which is it to be - which not to be?
This question all must face to some degree,
But He who judges all
Sees deeper yet than we will ever know
To confound even we who pose
Such thoughts in poetry or prose!
© Martin Wild 2019