No matter which route you took, this is most likely where you are ending your journey. In doubt. I’m sorry, haha. But seriously. I’ve invited you on to this journey as an invitation to a new way of living your spiritual life. Each sacred space has intended to be an unravelling, not a wrapping up. And openness to letting go rather than holding too tightly.
Hopefully by the end here you trust me (congrats, by the way, on actually making it to the end!). Hopefully, though, you trust me enough to doubt everything I’ve said. Or, at least, you know, some of it. Don’t worry, I can take it.
But here’s the thing — I want to avoid ending with the sense that truth faith is the faith of doubt, or something like that that we’ve all heard before. I don’t want to romanticize questioning everything. Because doubt can hurt. It can liberate, yes. But that liberation is seldom easy. And we can never know where God will greet us in the midst of the pain and its release.
Sometimes, if I’m honest, I find that when I’m least willing to entertain doubt is when I should most entertain it but, also, when I’m too often claiming its importance is just the moment I should take a pause to risk embracing truths that feel like they don’t quite fit, instead.
There’s no one right way here…although I often feel like I’m being told there is. I must be certain in my beliefs or true believers are holy doubters. But I think the truth is somewhere between and beyond these two poles. The truth, I think, needs to be worked out in relation with the God whose complexity embraces mine.
That’s why I’ve chosen Exodus 33 as one of the meditations here at the end. If you do decide to read my book, Transgressive Devotion, you’ll see that this story of God holding Moses in the cleft of the rock is a significant theme throughout. Now, I do some fun and funky things with that that you’ll have to read to enjoy. But this story has played a significant role for Christians throughout history who have engaged their faith as a practice of simultaneous knowing and unknowing. It’s played a huge role in my own faith as well.
I love the way that the only way to be certain of God’s presence is to have it hidden from us. But here’s what really matters to me about that…it’s not just hidden as in ‘I’ve critiqued it to death so no longer know what’s there’. But rather, it’s hidden because God sets the scene for its hiding. God tells Moses precisely where to go. And I picture that scene as dark and kind of moody blue, storm clouds and wind all bending to God’s will. It’s God’s hand that covers Moses’ face to obscure his view. God chooses what part of the Divine body Moses can see — the behind. I mean, I can be juvenile — so I really like that part too. But in all seriousness, God sets the sacred space and offers props for God’s own oblique appearance. And as finite humans, that’s the best we can hope for. Or, rather, that’s the profound gift God offers.
As I’ve created these sacred spaces for you to journey through, I’d been certain enough that God would move with us through them while also doubtful enough of that possibility that I felt fearful this would all flop. Still, I took the risk to forge ahead. And I’ve hoped all the way that even when it has felt like God has failed to show up, her presence has nevertheless intertwined with our willingness to show up too.
As I wrote the script for this video, I was struck by how much affection I feel for you now, the friend who I don’t — and probably won’t — know. How much gratitude as well, for you taking the time to take this journey with me. And I prayed for you, you know, as the site went live.
There are no activities as you complete this journey, only the Scripture meditations. I wanted to leave the last word with God. So I will now say good bye and wish you blessings on your journey. Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.
Each of these audio tracks creates a sacred soundscape, interspersing Scripture readings with times for reflection. Feel free to choose whether to pray with the tracks with music or without.