Category Archives: Spirituality
That miracle-working rabbi is near
Quick! Bring your baby
Perhaps he will condescend to touch
Even an insignificant child.
Insignificant!? Not to me
For this child is the light of my life.
This way to Messiah.
Blocked. By his disciples.
Too busy. Don’t bother.
But he comes, indignant at them,
A stern rebuke then a gentle smile as
He takes this precious babe from my arms
And not only touches, but
Holds, hugs, cuddles, coos, smiles, laughs.
I have but a faint memory of that time
It was so long ago and I was so small
Perhaps no memory
Perhaps only memory of the story
I can feel those arms,
See that smile,
Hear that gentle voice
Sense that heart throbbing
I can see those eyes even now.
Nothing has ever been the same.
May I lead you outside of town?
Away from expectations,
Opinions and well-meaning advice?
Away from the “you shoulds,” and
“You ought to”?
Take my hand and let us walk to
Where we are alone, apart from the
Crowd to where we can hear the breeze.
Do not be afraid if I touch your eyes
Once, twice, again.
At first all may be blurry –
It is for all of us – but focus as
Best you can, look closely at
Yourself; study the trees and the
Ants that crawl up their bark.
Listen deeply to the inner voice of love.
Notice how gradually, slowly,
Creation and the
Are coming into focus.
Don’t go back into town.
Based on my reading of scripture, I’m convinced that God doesn’t mind doubt. In fact, I think doubt is an essential part of faith. The opposite of faith is fear, not doubt. That’s why perfect love casts out fear. Almost everybody in the Bible doubted. Eve doubted God’s goodness. Abraham doubted God’s ability to protect him, so he threw his wife under the proverbial bus (twice, no less). Job, David, Peter, Jesus’ mother Mary, Peter – they all had times of major doubt. Even Jesus himself expressed doubt on the cross.
It seems that every dedicated follower of Christ doubted. St. John of the Cross had his dark nights of the soul. Mother Theresa (now St. Theresa of Calcutta) had extended periods of doubting even the existence of God.
I’ll go a step further – doubt is essential for spiritual growth. The person who never doubts is thinking very superficially, living on the surface. The thundering, self-confident preacher who exudes certainty does us no favors. Arrogant certitude is the opposite of humility. Certitude is judgmental and unteachable. Humility admits I don’t know it all. I can learn from everyone and every circumstance. I may be wrong about things I believe. Honest doubt is a part of being poor of spirit. Honest doubt makes me teachable.
Yet, we’re attracted to certitude. We like the feeling of having all the right answers, of having life and God figured out. We enjoy the self-satisfaction of believing that me and my tribe are right and the other guys are wrong. We are attracted to certitude in our houses of worship, in politics, and in the world of business. Certitude feels very American. Certitude is essential for the fundamentalist and the patriot.
The way of Messiah Jesus requires us to jettison certitude along with the pride, arrogance, and judgmentalism that comes with it. Jesus leads us by way of Gethsemani and Calvary. Rather than dismiss doubts by plugging our ears to alternative ideas, an unpretentious disciple brings her doubts honestly to God and others. The genuine apprentice of the Master complains in prayer like a psalmist.