Doubt is Necessary if Faith is to be Relevant

For eight days in August, Wanda and I had the privilege of traveling with our son Kres in Switzerland, Germany, Austria and France. As you might expect, we saw numerous castles and lots of churches. While all of this was impressive, two things moved me the most. The first of these was the opportunity to worship with the community at Taizé, France. For years, I have sung hymns and attended worship that has been inspired by this faith community and had imagined that this was a small group of Christians worshipping in an
isolated region of France. What surprised me most was that Wanda and I and Kres were just three of more than 5,000 worshippers (mainly between the ages of 17 and 30) on Saturday evening and then again on Sunday morning. Knowing that these young people had come from all over the world, gathering to experience the presence of God, reassured me that God’s activity in the world is not dead, but alive and thriving.

The second experience was going to CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research. At CERN, we heard physicists talk about the very beginning of the universe and how through particle research, they are discovering the basic elements of the creation. Albert Einstein has stated that “imagination is more important than knowledge.” What we heard from the physicists at CERN was that doubt was the greatest gift that any physicist can be given because without doubt, we are stuck in our old patterns of thinking
and only doubt can inspire us to imagine something different.

I came away with these two gems, doubt is necessary if faith is to be relevant, and for our faith to be relevant, we must imagine something different than our old patterns of worship. My prayer for us as a congregation is that we will continue to explore the depth and breadth of how God is speaking to us in new ways.

Bill Neely