Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.
If you were in worship on the Sunday when we welcomed the students back (August 26th), you may recall that this quote, from the German poet Rainer Maria Rilke, is the source of the theme for our current sermon series, “Living the Questions.”
We began the series that day by exploring the question: “Who do you say that I am?” The question of course comes from Jesus. Nearing the end of his ministry, which is to say, after three years of teaching and traveling together with his disciples, he pauses and asks his main group of followers: Who do you say that I am?
We started the series there because, as a Christian congregation, that may be the most foundational question of all.
Last Sunday, we took a step back — all the way back — to the first creation story in the book of Genesis. As you know, that story begins, with this famous and familiar line: In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. (This is from the King James translation, the most familiar rendering of the Bible’s opening verse.)
We noted that the author of the story presupposes God’s existence, takes it for granted, as if the reader would know who it is that he (the author) is talking about when he refers to this God.
So we paused, right there, to ask: God who? Who is this God of whom the author of Genesis speaks? Who is this God of the Hebrew tradition?
In both of these services (and this will also be true in the weeks to come), we give you a chance to reflect on, and answer, these questions for yourself. We are going to make a display of your responses, so that we can all read, enjoy and benefit from them together.
But I want to give you a sampling here, just so you can see the richness of your offerings, as we live these questions together.
We start with: Who do you say that I am?
A new beginning
Peace and hope
A mighty fortress
The light within and around us
Accepting of all
Light of the world, hope
Inner peace of love within us all
My alarm clock–time to wake up!
God’s gift to us all
And now: God who?
A call to love in action
God gives permission, God creates, God desires us, God is a verb
God, present in every possibility, the hand reaching down when we stumble, the love rippling from you to me to the end
God is the source of my breath, the source of the rhythm of my pulse, the source of any wisdom and life that arise within me.
Great indescribable spirit
The answer to the questions I don’t even know to ask
See what I mean? These are wonderful! This is only a small sampling of the responses you’ve offered so far. But even from these, I think you can see the value of this process of exploring these questions together.
We have five more weeks — five more questions — to go. I can’t wait to see where this journey takes us!