My thoughts (Lynnette Pullen):
I love to watch documentaries. The subject matter makes little difference to me. I watch everything from nature shows to case studies to history documentaries. One day I came across an op-doc about atheists, very devout atheists. For those who may not know, an op-doc (short for opinionated documentary) is a movie usually produced by independent filmmakers in order to inform, educate, and often persuade viewers. In other words, they usually focus on one side of an issue. In this op-doc, a pair of world renowned scientists travel the world and give speeches on the use of science and reason to explain the creation and development of our universe, all the while vehemently refuting the existence of God. Their lectures were televised and often filled auditoriums with thousands of people. I admit I was a bit naïve about the number of people who were against God until I watched this. The scientists mocked the idea of a “Higher Being” in control of our universe. At one point, one of them says, “Forget Jesus; the stars died so you could be born.” The idea being that humans evolved from the explosion of stars. I couldn’t help but sarcastically murmur, “Then who made the stars?”
Growing up in an Islamic household and attending Catholic school was very confusing to me as a child. It took years of research, exploration, and prayer to settle on what I believe. And to be honest, the more I learn and grow, the more that belief changes. For some people, that can be a scary thing. Let me be honest, it’s a scary thing for me! But, I feel I owe it to God to face the scary things and examine it fully and holistically. I don’t immediately discard ideas that seem different than what I know, but I don’t always accept them because they seem reasonable and provable. There are several things that are constant for me. For one, God exists. Period. That is not up for debate. Also, I believe that Christ was born and died for my sins. That one took years for me to reconcile in my mind. I had so many questions that I could not answer. I had been taught by my parents that one must atone for one’s own sins. I had been taught by my school that although God was forgiving, I was always in debt and needed to work and pray to try to get out. But the question still lingered in the back of my mind: How can someone fix the unfixable? If we lie, we can go back and tell the truth. If we steal, we can give it back and maybe a little extra for the trouble. But what about sins that we can’t fix? Those wrongs we could never make right. Stolen childhoods, lost lives, broken spirits. The spiritual laws of righteousness, sin, and atonement are beyond my comprehension. I would even venture to say that there is no human alive who can fully understand. When we are still struggling to understand the intricate complexities of our own bodies, I have a hard time believing that we can understand God. What I do know, from being on the receiving end of sinful acts, is that there is nothing that could be done humanly to make right some wrongs. It resonates as truth deep in my soul that God would love both those who trespass and those who have been trespassed upon so much as to step in and make things right for both. It then makes it about healing, for all. So, while I applaud and encourage independent thought, revisiting traditional beliefs and a constant journey to understand God, my exploration and curiosity comes to a screeching halt anytime God is minimized, limited, or erased. To respond to the scientist’s comment noted above, I say this, “Jesus is my Star.”
Prayer for the day: Thank you, God, for your unflinching love especially as we explore and question our belief system. Protect us from false teachings and help us to perceive and recognize your holy Word in whatever form it may take.
We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the suggestions on the How to Pray page.