Theme – Sacred Conversations – Asking Questions
Scripture – Matthew 16:15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
Many of the stories about the conversations of Jesus involve questions. Indeed, many of them involve opponents who ask questions designed to publicly shame Jesus. The questioner believes they already know the correct answer, or that they have formulated a question impossible to answer correctly at all. So the question isn't designed to provide further insight for the one asking or to lead both questioner and questioned into a holy conversation in which each can learn and grow.
But most often, when Jesus asks questions, they are designed to do one of, if not both of those things, provide further insight and inspire reflection and growth. In today's example the disciples are faced with an overwhelming glut of information. So many people are suggesting their own opinions about who Jesus is. Jesus, first and foremost, wants the disciples to think for themselves. But I would also suggest that he wants to learn about how they are processing what they are witnessing and to encourage them to reflect on the new and surprising thing that God is doing in the world through him. It isn't necessarily that Jesus has a specific answer he is looking for. It is that he wants to learn where the disciples are in their own thought process. Surely he will use this information to shape the lessons and experiences they he will lead them in going forward. But for right now, this isn't a quiz, it is an invitation to open up and share.
It seems to me that the church in America would be more faithful to the life of Christ if, instead of proclaiming all the answers, we instead boldly proclaimed that we asked questions. Promising answers claims an authority that only God can claim. Promising answers doesn't invite others into the discerning and discovering process of holy conversations with God or others. Answers turn us into passive receivers. But as we have already learned this week, God apparently doesn't want passive receivers. God wants active participants, who share their own creative vision with the God who calls new things into being. This is what healthy questions do in holy conversations, draw participants into cooperative discovery and mutual listening for the creative word of God.
Prayer - Stir within me a sacred curiosity today Lord. Help me not so much to seek answers as to ask questions. Let me approach every conversation and every situation as an opportunity to learn more about my neighbor, myself and you. Give me a confident faith that does not need to completely understand my neighbor in order to love them. Bestow the blessed assurance of your trustworthiness and grace so that I do not require certainty of anything but your love.