Children, have you caught anything to eat?
What are you talking about as you walk along?
My God, my God why have you forsaken me?
Who do you say that I am?
Who do people say that I am?
And who is my neighbor?
How much bread do you have?
How long has this been going on?
What do you want me to do for you?
Do you want to get well?
Ann Mackay Thoroman
If you only do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you?
If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you?
Joanne Ruelos Diaz
Which one of these three was a neighbor to the man who encountered thieves?
if God so clothes the grass of the field, will he not much more clothe you - you of little faith
Why do you worry about clothing?
Can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life?
O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?
Who are you looking for?
Where is your faith?
What is your name?
Do you see this woman?
Who are you looking for?
What are you looking for?
Rev. Grant Mansfield
26 February Ash Wednesday
Why does Jesus ask so many questions?
“Do you desire to be baptized?” That is the most provocative question I have been asked in my life thus far, although the question “Grant, will you accept Dominique as your husband?” comes close! That simple question carries so much weight for me day in and day out because behind it stands many other questions, challenging and provoking how I live my life: do I renounce Satan, will I strive for justice and peace, will I proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ, do I believe…? At the time my thirteen-year-old self was asked this question, I had no idea the power it would hold for me and how it would continue to guide my life in the years that followed my initial response of “I do”. Since I was first asked, God asks me that question each day in some form, stirring in me a deeper reflection and more authentic living of what it means to be a baptized follower of Jesus. It churns in me and invites me into a deeper relationship with God and the world. It is the question, not the answer, which continues to challenge me in my maturation as a Christian, a child of God.
Everywhere we look in the Gospels, Jesus is constantly asking questions: what are you looking for, who do you say that I am, who was a neighbor to this one, do you believe, have you still no faith, why are you afraid, do you see this woman, and on and on and on… Jesus certainly understands the power a good question can hold! Rather than spend his time here on earth offering answers, he spent the majority of his time asking questions. Through them, he stirs up peoples’ lives through inner reflection and challenges us to seek the fluid, moving, life-giving waters awoken by questions, rather than the perceived certainty, the perceived strength of set position, the perceived feeling of “I have it all figured out” that comes from having the answer. Jesus understands something about God and life that he tries to teach us through these questions – life with God isn’t about having all the right answers or having it all figured out; it is about sitting with the questions, experiencing and living in the uncertainties of life, rather than fool ourselves into a false sense of security and power by having an answer for all things. It is questions that open doors and invite people in to something more. It is questions that engage us in the holy act of listening to what God is up to in the world around us. It is questions that invite us to build relationships with God and our neighbors – not the answers. What a radically different way to be in the world!
In this time of new relationship between you and I, in this time of holy Lent, there will be many questions we have for one another and for God. I invite us to engage those questions, to seek them out, to offer questions to one another and our neighbors, to God, just as Jesus does. I wonder what the Holy Spirit may stir up in us as we ask and are asked questions. I wonder what Jesus is up to in this time of change… Will you seek it out with me?