Monday in Lent 3
Morning Office Readings: Psalm 80; Jeremiah 7:1-15; Romans 4:1-12; John 7:14-36

There are 11 questions in this passage from John’s gospel. 3 questions from Jesus, and 8 from the crowd. In a few instances the questions are answered, but mostly they are left open and unanswered by Jesus and the gospel writer. After reading it myself I was left scratching my head a bit. Confused, I read the passage over and over again only to realize all those unanswered questions were tripping me up AND keeping me totally intrigued.

There’s a game that we often played at summer camp to get to know each other called, you guessed it, Questions! It goes like this: 2 people who don’t know each other very well pair up. One at a time, each person gets 30 seconds to ask as many questions as possible while the other person sits quietly. No answers, just questions. The object of the game was not to learn about someone by their answers, but rather to learn about someone based on their questions.

I really believe in the old adage, “There are no stupid questions.” Questions are a wonderful way to dig into something, be it a passage from scripture, a lecture or even a person you’re getting to know. We may not always get answers, but asking the questions engages the mind, it shows us where we are interested, forces us to think critically, and it sometimes helps us find some answers.

Questions are Biblical. This passage is full of them, and questions appear throughout scripture. It is the crowds around Jesus who ask the questions that I find most admirable and interesting. They are often unafraid to approach this man, this messiah who behaves in ways they have never seen and cannot understand. The crowds are willing to listen and experience, but also eager to ask questions. Jesus sometimes answers their questions, but often leaves them unanswered, and that’s okay! Sometimes Jesus withholds in order to let the people decide the answers for themselves and other times there simply isn’t answer, and that’s okay too!

It is easy to lose sight of God’s mystery. We simply cannot know it all, we cannot have all the answers; but, we can ask all of the questions. We can dig in, we can engage scripture with questions. Write them down. Hold them in our minds throughout the day. Ask our friends. Ask our priests. Let our quest for questions guide us, rather than our quest for answers. I imagine that we will be humbled by the mystery and enriched by the depth.