The German poet Rainer Maria Rilke urges us to “Be patient toward all that is unsolved in our heart and try to love the questions themselves. ” In other words we should learn to “live our questions.”
Easier said than done…right? Not really. Questions are always more important than answers. Most of us going through school heard at least one teacher, if not more, make the popular comment “There’s no such thing as a stupid question…the only stupid question is the one unasked.”
Thank goodness most classrooms have a “Freddie Jones” in them. Freddie lived in my neighborhood and I think we ended up in the same classrooms/teachers together all the way through elementary school. Freddie was the kid who was not afraid to ask questions… even when he knew he would become the laughing stock of the class.
I have to admit I laughed too because some of them really were “out there” but secretly I loved that Freddie asked the very questions that I didn’t have the nerve to ask for fear of ridicule. Especially in math…I stayed lost in that subject a lot and desperately needed to ask more questions than I ever did…so, in a way, Freddie was my hero.
I now have a feeling that Freddie’s life probably turned out better than the rest of ours…because, even as a child, he was living his questions daily. He understood what the rest of us didn’t…in life its not the answer that is as important as the question…becoming part of the answer through participating in the quest for knowledge.
Think about this idea of living our questions when it comes to our faith…Jesus, by all accounts (regardless of one’s religion) was one of the greatest teachers of all times.
Why…because He asked twice as many questions in His lifetime as He gave answers and then He only directly answered three…indirectly answering all the others…how? Through parables…stories…in other words Jesus made the listener become part of the solution to learning the answer through the “riddles” of storytelling.
Jesus asked 307 questions and answered 183 through parables and more questioning. He never gave a simple, easy answer. Why?
“Easy answers can give us a sense of finality. By entertaining questions God has a chance to change us. Answers can be offered as a conclusion. Questions are an invitation to further reflection. For the most part, answers close and questions open” (Copenhaver)
Even Jesus’ three directly answered questions still kept the door open for individual beliefs concerning one important question.
Who is Jesus? Who do people say that I am? Who do you say that I am?
Today, in the final analysis, Christian faith comes down to that one committed question “Who do YOU say that I am?”
Throughout the Gospels…there are numerous references to Whom Jesus is…as in Matthew:
15 He said to them, “And who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus answered him, “You are blessed, Simon son of Jonah, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but my Father in heaven!” (Matthew 16:15-17).
Jesus did not want Peter and His disciples to believe He was the Son of God just because He said so. He wanted God to bring them to this conclusion, based upon the overwhelming evidence of Scripture and our Lord’s life and teaching.
So until tomorrow…If we want to live an open life…we must stay open to more questions and more possibilities. We must not accept easy answers as a final answer because then we live closed, narrow lives.
“Today is my favorite day” Winnie the Pooh
It has rained a lot here the past several days…and the forecast is still pretty “cloudy” and overcast for the rest of the week until at least Sunday. However, the flowers are happy…in fact dancing in the rain!
Perfect timing…just as the Confederate Jasmine is fading out… taking that magical scent with it…here comes my two deliciously fragrant gardenia bushes with buds about to pop…in fact the first one did! 🙂
And my hydrangea bush…ah the blooms are turning a darker blue…this is the largest one so far…and just breath-taking right before the sun disappears.