Have you ever been stopped short by a great question? Maybe you have been left speechless or wondering by the probing character of a well-timed one? I know I have. The ability to ask and to hear significant questions is both an art and a skill, and in the spiritual life a good question uttered and/or heard can offer us untold gifts of encouragement, direction or challenge.
It seems to me that Lent presents us with an opportunity to both pray with and consider the value of good questions. We might, for example, pay attention to the questions that swirl around us on a daily basis and notice their worth, or lack thereof. We could reflect upon the Gospels with an eye on the questions being asked in the texts, especially those voiced by Jesus.
Oftentimes in scriptural narratives, Jesus stuns his followers and opponents with the ability to go to the heart of things by posing a compelling question. How would we have responded to any of these inquiries from the mouth of the Master? In what ways do his questions inform our lives today? Here are a few examples of questions Jesus asked:
“Do you have eyes and not see, ears and not hear?” (Mark 8:18)
“Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?” (Matthew 6:27)
“Where is your faith?” (Luke 8:25)
“But who do you say that I am?” (Mark 8:29)
“Did I not tell you that if you believe you will see the glory of God?” (John 11:40)
“So you could not watch with me for one hour?” (Matthew 26:40)
Clearly, questions can be wonderful teachers, and so let’s pay more attention during this Lenten season to those particular ones that draw our notice. May our prayer and practices prepare us to encounter Jesus, the Christ who asks us to follow him on the way.