Saturday, February 7, 2009

Daily Office Reflection: Belief and Unbelief

Psalms 75, 76 * 21, 27; Isaiah 57:3-13; Galatians 5:25-6:10; Mark 9:14-29

I believe; help my unbelief! Such a plaintive cry we hear today from the child's father begging Jesus to help his son. I think that phrase sums up almost every thinking Episcopalian I know. We want to believe but we have doubts. We want to believe but we see such strife and hardship in the world. We want to believe but our prayers seem to go unanswered. We want to believe but we are faced with skeptics on all sides of us. We want to believe but we see and hear from global leaders in the Anglican Communion a bigoted, prejudiced, exclusionary Gospel as opposed to an inclusive and open one preached by many here in the United States. We want to believe but there are so many times we just don't understand.

I believe; help my unbelief! Jesus tags his response to this man's plea, after he rids the child of the demon, with the explanation that prayer is essential. In those dark times of unbelief, prayer, an ongoing conversation with God, can be the only thing that pulls us through. We may not understand it at the time, but that action of prayer is a necessary kernel of strength to help us through. We may not always believe, we may not always understand, but that juxtaposition between believing and not, is a critical part of all of our journeys on this earth. It is in that place of reasoning, of question, of doubt, that we many times can and do find God's patient presence and love waiting to shelter and hold us. Our belief and our unbelief are a natural part of our journey together.

Copyright 2009, John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.

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