Doubts, Certainty and All

We can throw the word doubt around pretty easily.

In court, lawyers try to prove their case beyond the shadow of a doubt. We see nominations to political positions in doubt. We say, no doubt, when we’re certain.

It seems that doubt has a bad rap. I mean, if we have doubt that’s considered “bad”. The antonym for doubt is certainty. But, I wonder if certainty is good. Certainty can rob us of open minds and open hearts. Certainty can lead to smugness and arrogance. If I’m certain, there’s little chance I’ll change.

Calling someone a doubting Thomas comes from the Gospel story of the resurrected Jesus appearing to the disciples. (John 20:19-31) The first time it happens, Thomas isn’t present. The others tell him about it, but he can’t believe it he says unless he sees for himself. The next time Jesus appears, Thomas is there. Rather than berating Thomas, Jesus simply says “look, touch, believe”. And Thomas believes! Jesus makes a comment about those who believe without seeing that has been construed as putting Thomas down.

But I think that Jesus knows that sometimes we just need to need to see him to believe. I think it’s only in our doubts that we really can see him. Just believing with certainty in the midst of suffering or sorrow seems hollow or false. Seeing transformation, feeling loved and finding hope, that’s how we see Jesus. It’s in his mercy that we are changed: doubts, certainty and all.

Can we see Jesus at work? That’s the question we hear a response to tomorrow from Mike Thompson’s testimony of serving as part of a work trip at 9:00 and 10:30 a.m. Jesus will be present, his peace will be shared and our doubts and our certainty will be challenged. That’s why we gather for worship, after all. See you there.

Grace and peace,

God does not stop loving us every time we do something wrong, and neither should we stop loving ourselves and each other for being less than perfect. - Harold Kushner

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