Summary: can anything good ever come out of our doubts, squeeze them and see
Ever noticed how we don’t talk about something’s in church.
There are just something’s that never ever get mentioned.
I mean when was the last time you went to church and heard a sermon about pain, or grief, or doubt.
It seems like somewhere along the line we’ve lost contact with these feelings.
To ask these questions is to face up to something that we probably thought we’d buried.
Or it may be that old Kiwi thing,
the she’ll be right attitude,
Whatever it is it seems that in Church we often fail to look beyond excatsy of worship
And see the pain and disbelief that is often a part of so many people’s lives.
I want to break with the tradition then,
And look at one of these hard subjects.
So why Doubt?
Well I guess if you were to look at the gospels,
you would see that doubt is a recurring theme
In John we have the story of a guy called Thomas, who developed the nick name doubting Thomas.
Luke seems to have a doubt theme running through it
And Matthew begins his final few lines of his report with the words
“When they saw Jesus, they worshipped him, but some doubted.”
Matthew then said the spiritual equivalent to a dirty word,
He said Doubt!!!
I say that because that’s often how doubt is treated, like four letter word
To many Christian the word doubt is offensive because Christianity is all about faith.
And because it’s all about faith and so to many people think talking about doubt is like playing with fire or a live grenade
drop the pin out of it and it might well go up in your face.
And Its because of this volatile nature that people don’t talk about doubt.
But yet here it is in the gospel
in the middle of a worship service some are doubting.
It has often been said that the Church is the only palce in the world where failure is permissible.
Well if we allow failure, then what about doubt??
Chances are when a person has doubts we start a witch hunt, and drive them out
because doubt to many people is too difficult a question to deal with.
Belief in Jesus hangs by a thin enough thread in this world without doubt too.
So because it’s such a difficult subject to talk about our questions often go unasked,
As people of God we are often even to ashamed to say that we have doubts.
All the questions then tend to get left unasked and therefore unanswered,
the fear is that people may look at us and see that we have doubts.
Well this evening I want to come clean,
I want to come out of the closet and say
“My name is Michael and I have lived with doubts“.
But this isn’t some self help therapy session, meant to make us all feel better and own up to our feeling that we may or may not have.
It’s a time to see whether we can learn anything from the doubts of the disciples.
See my doubts are nothing compared to the doubts that must have been part of everyday life for the disciples -
Try for a moment to imagine what it would have been like to view the crucifixion with the eyes of one of Jesus’ close mates,
The scene -
you’ve got eleven disciples scattered in and around Jerusalem,
its early in the morning Saturday,
in between all the tears and the grief some have been able to sleep
There best mate Jesus had just been nailed to a cross the previous day
hung out to die in the mid day sun,
tortured, beaten and crucified.
The friend the disciples left everything to follow was no more.
Now all the eleven disciples had was doubt,
Was he just a fraud, ?
were the miracles he performed all a part of a cheap side?
show act to woo the crowds ?
And were the words he spoke of this new kingdom just a
load of baloney?
These question and more must have sprung from the disciple’s doubt.
For the disciples it was a hard journey to take
from the doubt of Friday to ........
well, they didn’t know what lay ahead
an uncertain future was the best they could hope for especially if the authorities found them.
If there was ever a time to doubt your faith then it was then, in the face of the crucifixion.
If there was ever a time to doubt Jesus then it was
when Jesus was nailed out on a couple of pieces of wood-
If there was ever a time to doubt God then it was here as he watched his only son die-