Thursday, April 30, 2009

Faith Must Make Room for Doubt

A couple of weeks ago, I was preaching on the morning gospel text taken from John. In the text, Jesus appears for the first time to the disciples after his resurrection. First, they think they are seeing a ghost. They are scared, indeed terrified. It's not every day that a dead guy comes by to visit. They really don't know what to make of it all.

This may seem a bit surprising. All the more so, since, according to the gospel account, Jesus had told them that he would die, be dead three days, and rise again. Then there was Mary-- the first evangelist of the resurrection. She had told the disciples that she had seen the Lord. Peter and John had "checked out" her story and found an empty tomb. Cleopas and his traveling companion had seen Jesus-- who even provided dinner for them. They told the disciples as well.

Now, the disciples see. But, they can't believe their eyes. Jesus meets them where they are. He offers his hands and feet for inspection. Eventually, he eats a little snack in front of them. This is no ghost. He was offering the disciples all kinds of proof that he was really alive.

The disciples? The account says that that they were filled with joy. But, it says they were also "disbelieving and wondering." How can this be? It's all faith. Or is it doubt? You see, faith walks a fine line. True faith is about belief, certainly. But it also makes room for doubt. In fact, as Paul Tillich insists, faith includes doubt.

Those with true faith must always come praying the prayer of the pleading parent seeking Jesus' help. "I do believe! Help my unbelief!

1 comment:

  1. What are your thoughts on Joseph Campbell? I'm sure you've read or hear of him; if not, check him out.