On Sunday I attended a Confirmation Service at a local Episcopalian Church. Speaking to the Confirmation Candidates, the Bishop used the story of doubting Thomas to remind them that their faith journey need not be cut and dry, that it is not only normal but absolutely essential that we sometimes have doubts. Questioning things we learn is not a sign of weakness but a sign of curiosity, interest, and thoughtfulness. I realize that this is scary for many folks and that questioning the status quo can cause a bit of anxiety. But it can also be very freeing as you come to know that you cannot know everything. And that is okay.
Twenty years ago I attended an ecumenical women’s bible study where questioning was actually discouraged. We were not to use any outside resources, discuss our own denominational interpretation, or add any controversial opinions. Basically, we were to spit back exactly what we read and heard in the commentaries. Curiosity, doubt, and questioning were seen as threatening and were quickly squelched. I often found myself thinking things like, “How can this be? Did it really happen exactly this way? What if it means this instead of that?” This struggle sent me on a path of curiosity and questioning, and in doing so I was drawn deeper and deeper into my relationship with this amazing Divine Mystery. Key word: MYSTERY. It’s all a beautiful mystery. We can’t possibly know everything. Nor do we have to. This is where we are guided by faith and we realize that loving God does not require of us absolute certainty, knowledge, or proof. We can rest in the assurance that our desire to be constantly present in God’s presence is enough. How utterly freeing!
Finally, the Bishop encouraged the candidates not to panic or fear when the doubts arise. And I might add, ” Don’t run away! Lean into it, embrace it, suffer through it, learn from it.” What may come is a great sense of wonder and awe. And a certainty that you are not God, which is something worthy of being certain about!
What, might you be wondering, does this have to do with our yoga practice this week? Good question. I am not certain. But I will keep wondering myself and maybe, just maybe, I will make a connection by the time we meet on our mats!