Since Easter, the Awakening community has been on a journey called Curious. In these few weeks, we’ve attempted to engage some of the more difficult questions our faith poses:
Do dead people come back to life? Is the Bible worth my trust? What’s really true about heaven and hell? Does God actually care about all the suffering in the world? How should we respond to homosexuality?
It’s been a challenging series. Conversations being had amongst many in our community attest to this fact. Many of us have felt pushed to our theological limits. Others of us have experienced radical disruptions within the safe confines of our world views and paradigms. Some of us have been challenged with the notion that the Christian faith is simply not simple and requires a drastically different level of engagement than we’ve previously been accustomed to. All of us have been provoked to think deeply about what we believe, why we believe it, and what we’re willing to do about it. These sorts of questions have a way of beating us up. Personally, I feel simultaneously invigorated and exhausted by this series. Both frustration and enlightenment have been steady passengers on the journey. But beyond all of these things, I am grateful that as a community, we’ve exposed ourselves to the arduous process of wrestling with questions we admittedly don’t have neat, tidy answers for.
The asking of these questions is necessary – not in spite of, but precisely because of the tensions they pose. As the writer David Dark says, “Deliverance begins with questions.” In good Rabbinic form, Jesus would regularly respond to questions with more questions. Sometimes he’d pose the question in the form of rhetoric. Other times, he’d tell a story with a blatantly ambiguous conclusion that was in fact no conclusion at all. And herein lies the beautiful and messy truth of what it means to follow Jesus. It isn’t a formula or a science. It’s more like a poem or a song. It’s meant to be experienced, not just learned. It’s meant to be lived, not just known.
In his letter to his friend Timothy, the apostle Paul says it this way: Beyond all question, the mystery from which true godliness springs is great: He appeared in the flesh, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory (1 Timothy 3:16). Paul explains the story of Jesus and prefaces it as the mystery beyond all question. Yes, friends. The story of Jesus is itself a great mystery! And it is in this great mystery that we find the bedrock from which true godliness, the Christian life, springs forth. What a relief and what a joy! We don’t have to have it figured out. We can embrace the mystery. We can let it shake and rattle us a bit. It’s OK. Your questions are OK. They’re more than OK. They’re necessary. So ask away. Embrace mystery. Live with curiosity.
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