‘Fishing with question marks’ https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2014/14-march/features/features/fishing-with-question-marks
There are times in all our lives when we question what is happening and when our faith is challenged and shaken. What happens when we reach the point where it feels as though our faith makes no sense. For many in contemporary society this seems to be the case. Perhaps circumstance leads them to this point. For others there is the sheer illogicality of believing in something intangible, metaphysical. What then? We cannot force belief on someone, it simply doesn’t work. Fred Pratt Green frames the theme like this:
When our confidence is shaken
in beliefs we thought secure;
when the spirit in its sickness
seeks but cannot find a cure:
God is active in the tensions
of a faith not yet mature.
Fred Pratt Green Copyright Stainer & Bell Ltd
In this circumstance faith is incomplete. We do not have the full picture. Arguably, where God is concerned we never can have the full picture, in which case we need to be open to the fact that faith, in Sydney Carter’s words is framed by a creed which is never fixed or final. I raise a question in the following text:
How can we live at one with God,
inspired by Christ the living Word,
infused with all the Spirit's power
when life is twisted and absurd?
[…] to grasp by faith, to act in love,
while nothing fixed or final stands.
Put another way:
When life juggles with our learning,
with the things we thought secure,
then it seems the artist’s palette
spins and faith becomes obscure.
In the wash of different colours,
as we seek for shape and form,
others paint their faith by numbers
forcing God to fit some norm.
But when life has torn the canvas,
when the numbers twist and slip;
then we need to find an image
that will help our hope to grip:
holding us, when we're past holding,
grounding when we're insecure,
till we find a faith, not drifting,
still dynamic, free, yet sure.
All the above Andrew Pratt unless otherwise stated, verses copyright Stainer & Bell Ltd.
Always missing, never grasping, hope amid this shifting sea, coast and haven seem remote now, too far off to harbour me. Yet those fishermen are telling news that I can't comprehend, news that Jesus is still living, hasn't met his final end. But I saw his body hanging silhouetted like a sail, blood was draining, rigor rising, movement quietened, life gone pale. Now they say that sail is filling, spirit billows drive him on, Christ is cresting all disaster, life returns and death is gone. Yet unless I see the bow wave, feel the tiller in my hand, sense the tautness of the lanyard, I can hardly understand. Source of wind and wave, my sailor, give me faith to grasp this news, you are living, death defying, heaven, earth and joy will fuse. Andrew E Pratt (born 1948) Words © 2015 Stainer & Bell Ltd, London, England firstname.lastname@example.org . Please include any reproduction for local church use on your CCL Licence returns. All wider and any commercial use requires prior application to Stainer & Bell Ltd Metre: 8 7 8 7 D Tune: LEWIS FOLK MELODY