I am so grateful that we are spending time exploring our Discipleship Pathway. Especially the part about asking questions. Well, loving God is important too. And so is serving God. But I love asking questions. Especially in church.
My earliest memory of asking questions in church was when I was probably 4 or 5 years old. I went to church with my mom in this beautiful Catholic Church with stained glass windows and ornate carvings and beautiful mysterious objects all laid out on what my mom told me was called an “altar.” There were goblets and plates and ornate candle holders. Shiny beautiful things that intrigued me. Why were they there? What did they do?
I asked all those questions. But apparently, church was a place where you supposed to be quiet. At least while the service was going on.
So, to my mom’s credit, she didn’t tell me to be quiet. She told me to stand on the pew beside her. I was just tall enough that my mouth would reach her ear. “Ask right in my ear,” my mom would say. I thought it was this great ritual guaranteed to produce right answers! (I know now my voice carried less when I whispered right into mom’s ear)!
The priest serving the mass that day drew my attention. He wore this glorious brocade robe and it fascinated me. Why did he wear that? What did it mean? So I asked my mom. I whispered right in her ear, “Why is that man wearing a dress?”
Apparently I asked my question right after the priest said, “Let us pray.” So it was quiet in that sanctuary. Stone cold quiet. Except for my 4 year old voice stage-whispering about the man in the dress.
I remember people looking at me. I thought maybe they wondered too. And I remember that my mom decided we had to leave. Right then.
And shortly after that we became Episcopalian.
Which I never thought was connected until I was a lot older. And that story of my question in the middle of church was told over and over again at family dinners. As an example of poor timing.
I’ve always appreciated that for my mom, my question asking wasn’t problematic. Just the when and where of asking it. Which can still make you reluctant to ask what’s on your mind.
At St. Paul’s we want to create an environment where it is always appropriate for you to ask your question. There is no right or wrong time. And there is no question that can’t be asked! Because we strongly believe that by asking questions we learn. And by learning we draw closer to Christ. And by drawing closer to Christ we are doing the work of the church.
What is the question you have always longed to ask? Send it to me!
I’d love to hear it! I may not have an answer, but I’d love to know what questions are propelling you in these times.
And, may I say, I am so grateful for a church like St. Paul’s where questions are valued and puzzling through them together is considered our sacred task.
This Sunday, we will explore how reading the Bible every day can be a way for your deepest, most sincere questions to emerge. And how Jesus becomes realer than real.
“See” you then!