Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Worshipping Doubters

'And when they saw him they worshipped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came to them and said...'

This is a fascinating verse in Scripture that invites us to doubt.

What is interesting is that Jesus comes to worshippers/doubters/worshipping doubters and sends them all into a world of certainty with the Gospel.

Worshipping doubters are sent by God to those who are certain and secure in all that they believe and to declare that they have witnessed something that they do not quite know how to explain or put into words. Oh they will use words, at times with great confidence, yet those words do not quite portray everything that they have seen and heard. Worshipping doubters declare to a world of certainty that all that they are certain of may need to be re-examined. The Resurrection calls us to question everything we know, invites us to doubt and thus to find faith.

Worshipping doubters smash the god idols of certainty that call us to mindlessly adhere to the way the world is. The certainty gods do not want you to think, perceive and see that you've been lied to.

These worshipping doubters have experienced something that has forever changed their lives, but quite how it has been changed and the way it will look in being changed is filled with uncertainty and doubt.

They are looking at the Risen Jesus and they do not know how this is all going to turn out.

They will go into the world with a message of hope, redemption and reconciliation, their doubt not a hindrance to their calling but a means through which their calling takes shape.

As worshipping doubters we walk unsure of where this will all lead, yet that doubt enables us to have faith in God and trust Him and not our own strength, skills, knowledge or wisdom. As a worshipping doubter we find that we can only trust God because we simply do not have the answers.

This is not some kind of pluralistic 'everything is true' or 'everything is mystery' for the Love of God revealed in Christ is something that we can be sure of, live in and celebrate. Worshipping doubters do not leave their minds at the alter of ignorance, rather their doubt compels them to think, to pursue, to challenge and to love God with all that they are; doubt enables faith and to live in grace.

To be a worshipping doubter is to know that the Risen Jesus meets with you and you have no way of telling what He will do with your life.

To be a worshipping doubter is to meet with the Risen Jesus and know that He is beyond your clever ideas, ideology and understandings of God, yet close to you, present with you and known by you.

The Risen Jesus destroys all our concepts of God and humanity, right and wrong, fear and faith, morality and ethics, life and death; the Risen Jesus compels us to see that everything and everyone has changed in light of His Divine Humanity.

Worshipping doubters strive for peace. Peacemaking is not passivity, rather it is the act of interrupting injustice without mirroring injustice, the act of disarming evil without destroying the evildoer, it is the non-violent pursuit of peace, the hard road of reconciliation and justice modelled by Jesus Himself. It is a revolution of love the will set both the oppressed and the oppressor free.

Worshipping doubters are called to see God, humanity and the world with very different eyes and hearts and to go and be heralds of a brave new world.


Kevin said...

I hope you won't mind if I doubt your understanding of the verse that your article quotes from Matthew. My understanding is that the disciples who doubted are not included among the disciples who worshipped. I think the verse means that the majority of the disciples worshipped Jesus, but there were some among them who, initially at least, doubted instead of worshipping.

This is similar to John 1:11 - 12

"He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God"

Here John begins by making an absolute statement that Jesus' own people did not receive him. But then he goes on to talk about those people who did receive him. Putting everything together, John does not mean that the same individuals both refused to receive Jesus and also received him - he means that among the Jews, the majority did not receive Jesus, but some of them did.

Just as receiving Jesus and not receiving Jesus are opposites, so faith and doubt are also opposites. If my boss asks me to do something for him and I agree, he can doubt that I will do what I have said, or he can have faith that I will do what I have said, but he cannot doubt and have faith at the same time. He may switch between faith and doubt and different times but he cannot have faith and doubt at the same time that I will do what I have said. Similarly, he may have faith that I will do some of the things I have said and doubt that I will do other things that I have also said, but again he cannot have both faith and doubt about the same thing because faith and doubt are opposites.

Joe Haward said...

Hi Kevin

I find it interesting that you define doubt as 'not receiving Jesus'. Although I understand why you think that I feel it does not embrace the experience and witness of doubt not only in Scripture but within Church history; doubt and faith are not seen as opposites but as companions.

Throughout Scripture the opposite to faith is fear, not doubt.

Like I said, I understand completely where you are coming from, but I think that you're confusing doubt with rejection, and they are not the same thing.