Can you hold doubt and faith in tension? Yes, you can, I’ve found. The tension, shades of light, dark and shadow shown in my Thomas the Party Pooper? acrostic co-exists in my daily struggles to make sense of this weird, multi-faceted, wonderful yet at the same time downright contradictory thing we call faith. Questioning, exploration, adoration and downright exasperation all jostle together for space. Even if there are days when I’m tempted to throw the whole business out of the window!
It takes faith, but not a pretty-pretty pious platitudinous faith, more a stickability and persistence; a durable quality of being, a rootedness. Hence my try at Bible journaling the familiar I am the Vine verses from John’s Gospel. What does it mean to abide? It wasn’t half challenging trying to hammer out a definition that I can live with, and even now, I feel it’s a work in progress, open to change. Especially that last line, which gives off more than a whiff of what someone’s described as ‘tying it up with a bow,’ syndrome.
Anyway, here’s the acrostic and with it another challenge: Try writing your own acrostic poem for ‘Abide.’ Or use another type of poetry, if you like. The aim is to incorporate a thought-provoking definition within the parameters of a set form, bearing in mind that in the biblical context we’re talking about a living relationship with a ‘who,’ (‘Christ), not with a ‘thing.’ Shades of Thomas Merton here.
A quality of faithfulness, perseverance Built in the hard slog of the everyday Intense, yet quiet, degree removed from rush and disquiet Durable and persistent, living in the now Embracing faith, hope and love, steadfast and true.