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Living the Questions

The high priests brought many charges against him.  Pilate again questioned him, saying, “Have you no answers? Look how much you are accused of.” But Jesus still said nothing. Pilate was amazed.

-Mark 15:3-5

Always the beautiful answer. Who asks a more beautiful question?

-ee cummings

I would like to beg you dear Sir, as well as I can, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.

-Rainer Maria Rilke, from Letters to a Young Poet

This journey through Holy Week is more about the questions than the answers. Pontius Pilate asks Jesus a series of questions and Jesus answers cryptically, as if to say, you are really missing the point.

The Holy Mystery moves us through the terrible suffering and death of a man, the profound love and courage that kept the women by his side despite their own fears, the time in the tomb — that in-between space we spend much of our own lives — and its invitation to rest in mystery, and then the movement to the joyful moment of resurrection where even the disciples don’t have the right set of questions anymore because they fit the old answers.  Isn’t this the journey of our whole lives?  The movement from sorrow to courage to grief to waiting to joy, often holding elements of each at the same time?

What are the questions stirring your soul these final days of Lent?

Can you make space to live into them, not needing to have the answers?

Where are you being invited to ask new questions in new ways so that you might discover a radically new response?

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4 Responses

  1. Thanks kigen and Tess. kigen, I love the Emily Dickinson and your warm wishes. Tess, I look forward to hearing how holy week speaks to you in the midst of fractiousness.

  2. Christine, Just to add, Have a very happy Easter. I will be participating in a very demanding project this spring, beginning next week, and will not be able to share in the poetry party, but I want to thank you for much poetic and spiritual inspiration this past year!!
    All the best, kigen

  3. I have the problem of being unbelievably busy at work (I’m doing full-time and then some for a few weeks), so really difficult to sink into Holy Week. But I sense this fractious busy-ness has its own Holy Week lessons. I just don’t know what they are yet. This beautiful collection of words helps though.

  4. Thanks Christine !!!!!!!

    Mary Oliver actually gives the answer —
    “Look and laugh in astonishment!”

    Emily Dickinson says:

    Tell all the Truth but tell it slant —
    Success in Circuit lies
    Too bright for our infirm Delight
    The Truth’s superb surprise