Wednesday Wondering - July 26, 2023
Proverbs 27: 1
Do not boast about tomorrow, For you do not know what a day may bring forth
Ecclesiastes 8: 7
If no one knows what will happen, who can tell him when it will happen?
I have been thinking a lot about faith lately. I suppose one might say that this is an interesting topic for a minister to ponder, but the reality is that I believe that faith is something that has many dimensions. What does it mean to be a person of faith? If we say that we have a faith, does that mean that we live our lives in certainty or do we live our lives in uncertainty? The scriptures that I picked speak to the uncertainty of life. These scriptures speak to this idea of not knowing and they speak to the fact that there are many things in our lives that we might never know. Yet, I think that there are many who profess to be Christians who do not live within the uncertainty of life. There are many among us who hold fast to what they understand to be the ‘truth’ of what they believe in the world. Quite often when we speak about our scriptures and sacred stories we struggle when others challenge our stories as 'truth.' There are those who struggle to see our scriptures as anything other than ‘truth’ but not truth in that they point to an important consideration, but rather truth in a factual historical sense. In doing this the subtleties of the scripture and the possibilities contained within. There are those who hold fast to what they believe as ‘truth’ that they can’t, or don’t, see any other perspective. I wonder if that is what we are called to do in our own lives or are we called to live our lives in uncertainty. Richard Rohr, American priest and writer on spirituality, speaks to certainty and faith in the following way, “My scientist friends have come up with things like 'principles of uncertainty' and dark holes. They're willing to live inside imagined hypotheses and theories. but many religious folks insist on answers that are always true. We love closure, resolution and clarity, while thinking that we are people of 'faith'! How strange that the very word 'faith' has come to mean its exact opposite.” There are many unknowns in science and these unknowns allow for a multitude of possibilities to exist. It is within these possibilities that imagination, research, and new theories can become reality. Our lives are much the same. The reality is that there are no certainties in life. Our lives ebb and flow with the circumstances that surround us and our lives have to adapt and as we adapt possibilities might just emerge. If we only live in what we understand to be the ‘truth’ we might just miss the possibilities that exist within our faith. So what do we hold tight too in our lives? To hold tight to God in the midst of the uncertainty of the world and our lives might just be what is important in our faith. In the midst of the not knowing, in the midst of the challenge, in the midst of the changing circumstances of our lives and the world, in the midst of all of this, we hold tight to God. It is God that give stability to our life. Our faith is not about some ‘truth’ that is written in a book of scriptures but rather it is about the ‘truth’ of God’s presence with us. If we live into this understanding of uncertainty, our faith, itself, can become dynamic and exciting as it grows and changes as the context of our lives changes. This is what I believe faith is truly about, a dynamic living experience that is open to, and opens us to new possibilities to experience God. So let us live a faith that grows and changes as we grow and change. Amen.
God of uncertainty, help us to see the truth of faith. The truth that you are always with us throughout all of the changes that life brings. Give us the wisdom to see that when we hold tight to what we understand to be the ‘truth’ we close ourselves off from the possibilities of our faith. Give us the courage to truly live a faith that changes, grows, and adapts as our world and lives change. Help us to know that all we need to hold tight to is you for you are always with us. We ask this in the name of the one who came to change everything, your son, Jesus. Amen.