Lord of light, You are our shepherd and guide when we walk through valleys of deepest darkness, and we fear no harm for you are there with us, your staff and crook giving us comfort.
Help us as pilgrims to be a light to others, untroubled by the shallow arguments of those who try to deceive, and taking neither part nor pleasure in barren deeds of darkness.
Give us wisdom, courage and strength to learn to judge for ourselves what is pleasing to you, proving ourselves as children of the light, where there is a harvest of goodness, righteousness and truth.
Ted Burge, Lord for all seasons
Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit.
If it is true that my wilderness is inside me then doubt must be a part of that desert place. Is Christianity true? Is my life based on a lie? Is faith a con trick we play on ourselves to keep us going? Every so often niggles of doubt insinuate themselves into my well ordered routines and put question marks against ‘that sure and certain hope’.
Then I remember the famous cryptic telegram in Arthur Ransome’s ‘Swallows and Amazons’ which gives the Walker family the go ahead for an exciting and risky holiday:~
‘Better drowned than duffers.
If not duffers won’t drown’
‘Faith’ said the philosopher Kierkegaarde, ‘ is floating over 40,000 fathoms’ and just because faith is that kind of thing the only way to get it is by being made to swim: and no one learned to swim until they were in it up to their neck, and it began to dawn that what formally seemed a threat actually had become the only means of support.
Faith is in fact the acceptance of doubt not the suppression of it. It is launching out into the deep and finding that the Lord comes to us across the waters, because of the profound conviction that in spite of our doubts and fears, ‘underneath are the everlasting arms’.
Looking our doubts firmly head on is part of wrestling with God, like Jacob of old, contending with the unfathomable mystery and finding new life in the process. Lord I believe, help thou mine unbelief.
The Ven David Meara, Archdeacon of London