Wednesday, 13 May 2009

The questions we pose

I wonder what it means that when asked to recall a watershed moment of the realisation of God's love for me I can't bring one to mind. You know those moments, when you become deeply aware of the fact that God loves you, despite your bad language, your selfish disdain for the feelings of others, your preference for sporting matches over church services ... or whatever makes you feel undeserving of God's love. 
Is it because I have never felt I don't deserve to be loved? 
Is it because I don't believe God loves me? 
Is it because my fundamental, transformative, inspirational encounter with God was more about hope in the darkness, a reason to live, strength to crawl out of a very black hole? 
I don't suppose there's any avoiding it, but what do we do when the language we use in our gathered worship, the invitations to reflect that we offer, cause feelings of inadequacy, or doubt, or worry? Not everyone has the resources to invite the question as I have, reflecting on it, sitting with the ambiguous feelings it's evoked in me, and maybe I don't either. How do we offer invitations that include an invitation for further conversation to explore questions? How do we ensure there is 'permission' to question and doubt. 
Now I'm not suggesting these things were lacking in the context in which the question was posed for me - quite the contrary. It does raise the question, though, of how we invite a group to explore their encounters with the Sacred while acknowledging that each encounter is different, each Story of the multiple encounters we have will vary, and not all will include a moment of revelation of God's love for us. It might be altogether darker and scarier than that. 

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