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Blog-Elsie201503

I remember an incident many years ago, when the girls were very young, over holiday money. One of my daughters had saved up pennies for quite some time and was proud of what she had done. So being a helpful mother I took her heavy, hard to carry, big bag of pennies and had them put into a £5 note at the Post Office. That night, smiling proudly, I presented her with the £5 note.

Oh dear. She wept and cried and beat her little fists with outrage that her large pile of money had been replaced by this one piece of paper and did not believe it when I told her they were equivalent amounts. I can’t recall how we finally proved it, but I do remember that we were required to explain and answer all her questions until she had a basis for believing it.

Over the last month a few of us who are undertaking the course in Christian Studies have been going through a process of testing what we believe about our faith. We have called into question everything: the Holy Spirit, Jesus, the Resurrection. And it has been no holds barred - we can ask, doubt, question everything and we are encouraged to do so. We are not allowed to just accept the fact that a £5 is the same as 500 pennies, not just accept the gospel because that is what we have been told or what we always believed.

As we approach Easter it is, I believe, both the most important part of the Gospel teaching and, for many people, the hardest part to believe. The resurrection of Jesus is so beyond our understanding that it is a huge challenge. So I would urge people to question it, probe it, look at what you believe and why, because only by doing so, only by taking it apart to put it back together can we really explore our faith. We should never be afraid to question, never back away from doubts, our God and our church is big enough to cope.

Over the years there have been times when I have had many doubts, sometimes I still do, but I have often found these doubtful, questioning times to be the times which have enabled me to build a stronger faith, a faith built as Jesus described on rock and not on sand. 

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

Matthew 7 vs 24-27

Elsie Bouffler