June 19th - The Mystery of Faith?
For many years I was a dedicated demysystifier of Christianity; coming as I did from an unchurched background I didn't feel particularly comfortable with the notion of ancient tradition, and I didn't want to do or say anything in prayer or worship unless it felt grounded in God's presence with us here and now. I remember arguing with the vicar of my local church over the words 'This is the mystery of faith' inserted into the communion service. "Faith isn't a mystery," I told him confidently, "It's about what we experience every day. It's normal life. You're making it too complicated."
Well, I've had the opportunity to grow up in a number of ways since then, and I'm now willing to concede that it can all get a bit complicated and mysterious at times. I still think that faith is to do with the here and now - sometimes messily so - and I'd probably still err on the side of keeping things down-to-earth, but I guess I'm more willing to admit that I don't have many of the answers.
This morning I walked up to church, as I always do, avoiding the road and taking the old footpath through the trees and across the meadow. It never fails to move me when I think that worshippers have trodden that same path for hundreds of years, called by those same bells, seeing a landscape essentially unchanged since the Middle Ages. For today, I don't feel the need to be anything more than one of their number, playing my small part in passing on the faith.