I came across a quote the other day, by Pope Francis, who said it when he was in Juarez, Mexico, one of the most dangerous places in the Western hemisphere. He said: “Let us together ask God for the gift of conversion.” I pondered what that meant in light of the disciples’ almost universal disbelief in the Resurrection.
On the other hand, Easter is, by all measurements, an extremely “Up” experience for Christians as they gather to hear the Good News of the Resurrection. St. John’s was so positive on Easter morning as we heard great music from handbells, brass, piano, harp, guitar and choir. We also had a wonderful breakfast with happy faces, an aggressive Easter egg hunt, and, of course, a treasured sermon to be remembered always.
The morning was followed by, I am sure, festivities and gatherings with families who enjoyed each other’s company and good food. That was the case with me. However, later into the evening, I noticed that I was feeling a little down, in fact, a little depressed. I was told that it was the letdown after feeling so high from the day’s experience. Yes, it was indeed wonderful, but I was a little taken aback by what I was feeling.
This Second Sunday of Easter is “low Sunday” here at St. John’s, where some people don’t even show up. The text for this Sunday is always Doubting Thomas,who needs proof to sustain his faith. He is much like all of us, who can live in a world of doubt. It is a struggle, and it is a “downer”. At times I can feel riddled by doubt. Doubt is a necessary part of faith. Yes, without doubt you really don’t have faith. We all want certainty, but the eternal answer is: Trust. In fact, Luther often said that trust is the best word for faith.
I went to seminary to find answers to my questions, and I found some answers and even more questions, but in that privileged experience I felt that I must make a commitment. I can’t live in a holding pattern and never land. I can’t walk around the pool, sticking my toe in. I need to jump in with both feet, and I have. Kierkegaard once said that most Christians simply “flirt” with faith rather than take the “leap of faith.”
Believing is worked out in the living of your days. As you live moments into meaning, it is there that you discover and find the gift of faith. As I wrote earlier Pope Francis spoke of the “gift of conversion”. It is a gift I pray for, too, in my faith journey.