Easter Doubts and Promises… Continuing the Conversation
I missed it! So far the Easter Season has offered us spirit-filled celebrations of resurrection life. Over 1100 people attended the four Easter morning services. Then last Sunday we had nearly 700 in worship to listen and respond to the ongoing message of Easter. But I missed it! Yes, I enjoyed some down-time. We pastors need to disengage every now and then so we can reengage with new enthusiasm. Rev. Anita Hahn, our Grand Traverse District Superintendent, preached a powerful message on doubts and the presence of Christ (you can listen to the message on-line). As part of the morning we were invited to name our doubts and wonderings about God. In The Well service many of you responded in writing, sharing the deeply held uncertainties you wrestle with. Let me share a few:
- Who is God really?
- What is my worth?
- Does prayer really work?
- I’m not sure how to hear you.
- Is the Lord really there for me?
- Where are You for all the people in Syria, N. Korea?
- The church is harming our world more than helping. How can You and we save us now?
- My son can’t comprehend the presence of pain and suffering from a loving God.
- Is there really a heaven? Where is it?
- Will all of us make it to you?
- If You love all your “children” and some choose not to believe in you, what happens to their souls?
- If it were my children, I would save all of them no matter what they believed.
- Can Grace be given to the man who walked away? When did I lose my faith?
- Does my faith make a difference in the world?
- Can I beat my addiction?
- Why are there so many contradictions in the Bible?
- If there is one truth, why aren’t all aware of it?
- How can I help?
- Am I faithful?
- Am I too selfish?
- Why are all the horrible things happening across the world?
- How can good prevail”
- Can we learn to care about and for everyone in the world?
- Do any of these connect with you? What would you add to the list? How would you respond if given an opportunity?
The Easter message is that the Spirit of Christ is alive in the world and in us even when we have doubts and fears. This promise doesn’t always change the world around us, but it can change us. Don’t discount the power of that promise. Like you I don’t always understand why things are the way they are and I have my doubts about the power of God to change things. But then grace surprises me and for the moment I am gifted with the assurance that God is here and I am renewed. I am able to say with “doubting Thomas,” “My Lord and my God.”
Sometimes we expect too much of God and too little of ourselves. The point of the resurrection is that God set things straight in the universe (something we can’t do) and empowered us to make things right in our world. Our doubts and questions will never end. But we can, by grace, hold faith and follow in The Way of The Risen One. And that is no second-rate promise. That is resurrection! In what way will you let the victory of Christ move you to be a witness to love today?
Following with You,