If you have been paying attention, you might have noticed that this year’s Lent began and ended with secular events. Ash Wednesday was on Valentine’s Day which caused a conflict between celebrating with a meal out and keeping a day of fast and abstinence. Easter this year was on April Fool’s Day. This doesn’t happen very often but it can lead us to a particular kind of reflection. We know that there is an increase of atheists and agnostics. Perhaps agnostics may think that there is some kind of creative force out there you might call God, but atheists do not believe in a deity at all. Perhaps the increase in this kind of thinking stems from the tension between faith and doubt. Learned people might scoff at anyone who believes with certainty that there is such an event like resurrection. They might say, “April Fool, it’s a joke.”
Recently we had a marvelous article in St. Mark church bulletin which recognized the connection between faith and doubt. The author, John Bernstein says this, “Common sense says that faith (friendship with God) and doubt are contrary to one another. Yet serious-minded believers have always known that doubt is an ingredient in faith, not faith’s opposite. Doubt is the shadow side of faith. Doubt gives faith its firmness and resolve.” I think of Mother Theresa who according to the notations in her journals, doubted for many, many years. She did not experience the presence of God as she had in her younger life. Yet, she continued persevering, continued praying and doing good among the poor. Her doubt did not stop her but filled her with firmness and resolve.
During this Easter Season, if we have doubt we might learn to accept it as the shadow side of our faith and move on with perseverance. Having celebrated Easter on April 1 won’t tempt us to say “April Fool,” but even if doubt is present, faith is as well, which enables us to say “Alleluia” from the depth of our hearts and souls.
~by Helen Ackermann