He is risen, He is risen indeed, Alleluia!
Those words are shared at the beginning of the Easter day service, announcing that we believe that Jesus, who was dead is alive again.
It can be a really difficult concept for us to think about and intellectually debate. Could Jesus have been unconscious rather than dead? Could somebody else have been substituted for Jesus? Did Jesus’ friends move his body and bury it elsewhere? These are questions that might sow a seed of doubt in our minds about the resurrection, but that is one of the major gifts of faith – doubt.
It may sound like an oxymoron, but having doubt rather than just blindly accepting the words and doctrines of faith is what can make our faith stronger and more vibrant. We wrestle with the big questions that are posed by faith and come to our own belief and understanding of what/who God is. These are questions that have been examined by the great minds of history since and before the birth of our Saviour Jesus Christ. There are countless swathes of theology books and commentaries out there, and many of them are very good (Tom Wright’s book, Simply Jesus is a particularly good read if you want to start your own exploration).
One of the great joys of being a member of the clergy is having the opportunity to meet with people who are exploring their faith, and are open to robust and honest discussion. I have been fortunate enough to join with some people on a course called Pilgrim during Lent. This is a course that has been designed for people who have questions, who aren’t bound by doctrine or experience and who are happy to ask their big questions out loud and listen to other people’s opinions.
If, however, you feel that those big questions are too difficult to look at in a group setting, please don’t hesitate to contact me and have a cup of coffee and a chat.
So please, embrace your doubt about God, about his Son Jesus Christ, explore those big questions about faith and religion. But above all please be assured of one thing, that whatever your doubt about God, God does not doubt you, but loves you so much that God sent his only Son so that you might have eternal life.
‘Doubt isn’t the opposite of faith; it is an element of faith’. Paul Tillich