Do you ever come away from holy, mysterious moments like Easter with more confusion than faith? While others talk about faith are you ever left just wondering?
What Does It Take to Convince Us?
Even when Peter runs to the tomb, looks into the tomb, and finds only the linen clothes, he goes home “wondering what had happened.” Jesus tells Peter what is going to happen ahead of time. The women find the tomb empty. Two strangers (AKA angels) show up with the news that Jesus is alive and in Galilee. Simon Peter looks inside the empty tomb for himself, and he goes home “wondering what had happened.”
Faith often comes slowly.
At this point in the story it would be tempting to give up on Peter, just as some of us may be tempted to give up on ourselves because despite all the scripture stories, all the faith songs and hymns, all the faith others have and tell us about, and all the sermons we have endured, we still don’t get it. We still don’t “buy” the resurrection or the claim that God’s love wins.
Don’t Give Up
Don’t give up. Faith comes quickly to some and slowly to many of us. And remember that faith isn’t the same as absolute certainty. Faith is like fudge ripple ice cream: there is the vanilla ice cream (=faith) with the lines of fudge (=doubt) through it.
In Luke 24:12, Peter goes away from the empty tomb “wondering.” That first morning he is still puzzled, not convinced by the evidence of the resurrection. Even later, after another appearance by the risen Christ to the disciples, Luke says (24:41) they were “disbelieving and still wondering.”
But by the time we get to the 21st chapter of John’s gospel, we see Simon Peter swimming through the Sea of Galilee to get to the beach where the risen Christ is preparing breakfast. The fisherman takes a walk with the risen Christ. Jesus asks, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Three times the question is asked, and three times Peter says, “Lord, yes! You know I love you.”
The disciple who, on the first Easter morning, went away “wondering” is just days later ready to follow the risen Christ anywhere. Faith comes slowly to many of us.
Don’t give up.
Faith Takes Time (and Staying Connected)
So, how long will it take for faith to take root in your life?
Faith takes time to take root. Sometimes it happens quickly as it does when the Samaritan woman has her encounter with Jesus at a well, in the middle of the day, and goes home to tell her fellow villagers, “Come meet someone who has told me everything about my life.” But often it takes weeks and months and—sometimes—years.
You need to know something else: not only does faith take time to take root in our souls and hearts and minds, it usually happens when we stay connected to the Jesus community. Simon Peter doesn’t walk away from the other disciples and expect resurrection faith to mysteriously take root and grow in his life. He joins his brothers and sisters on the road, sharing meal and prayers, and joining in the retelling of Jesus stories.
Don’t give up.
Even when all you have is wonder, more doubt than faith, keep praying.
Even when all you have is wonder, more doubt than faith, keep giving yourself away as a servant, as Christ served others in love.
Even when all you have is wonder, keep showing up to sing faith songs and hear Jesus stories.
Even when all you have is wonder, keep close to those who have faith and can be your guides on the Easter journey.
Don’t give up. Simon Peter was not sure, but rather “wondering.” Yet a triumphant, Easter faith took root in his life and changed everything!
See you Sunday…whether your faith is robust, or you went away from Easter “wondering.”