Renewal Prayer

My faith has been wobbly for more than a year now.  It is a strange, painful, gladsome realization when things once believed immovable become giant question marks instead.  At times it feels like the floor has opened up into a yawning abyss, and at times it seems the sky has been punctured, letting in a glimpse of a deeper reality beyond what is visible.

I was quiet at first about my own wobbliness.  I have continued attending church, continued experiencing the physical grace of Communion, continued sharing life with my brothers and sisters in Christ.  But I could not voice the doubts that alternately whispered and shouted in my day-to-day life.  I have listened to great thinkers, read great authors, and sat perplexed in the midst of prayers and sermons and Bible studies that no longer made sense to me.  What was the point?

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Scripture used to feed me.  Then I began to see how much it had been twisted to control me, and suddenly I couldn’t open my Bible without my heart racing and my hands shaking.  Now when I am alone, the most I can manage is a verse or two in Latin; I chose the Vulgate as an antidote to mis-comprehension in English.  I am grateful for a pastor who encourages doubts and questioning, because I now have space to meet the Real Jesus.  And what I found in the Real Jesus is grace, love, and mercy.

On Sunday mornings, I still find myself with hundreds of others, gathered in seeking, worshipping, learning, questioning, doubting, finding.  The pews are as familiar to me as the opening Doxology, and the lilting Scottish accent of my pastor is comforting whether or not I can digest what he says.  My heart usually settles into patient, uncertain hope by the time we recite the collect as a congregation.

O God our Father and King, forgive us for thinking less of you than we ought; for we think your truth too high, your will too hard, and your power too remote; but they are not!  We pray that you would resolve our confused minds with your Word, redirect our divided wills with your law, restore our troubled consciences with your forgiveness, and revive our anxious hearts with your presence, for the sake of your Son, Jesus Christ, who loved us and gave Himself for us.  Amen.

And so, despite my wobbliness, I still hope.  Despite my doubt, I still believe.  Despite my questions, I rest in mystery.  What is that but grace?