A week into the season of Lent, and I cannot seem to escape reasons to continue thinking about some of the “Why?” questions at the heart of our faith. Of course, I brought it on myself by planning a Lenten study on the theme of “Why?” questions.
But just a few days ago I was asked my professional opinion about what kind of groups qualified as Christian ministries or churches. For example, could a ministry to gang members that worked to “rehabilitate” former members (and still maintained some connection to gangs) be considered a legitimate ministry? The scenario was a complicated one, which I won’t share here. But the question did bring me back to that core question of Lent, asking “Why Church?”
The answers to this kind of question can vary wildly. In fact, if you were to poll most people sitting in the pews or watching church online these days, you would likely find some vastly different reasons for why folks are present or watching.
The starting place for the question has to be sorting out these answers for ourselves before we can ask them of others, before we can begin to have conversations about what we ought to be and do together as communities of faith.
Last week our Lenten study asked the question, “Why faith?” And it took us on a journey to explore why we believe in something or someone rather than believing in nothing.
As we continue our Lenten study this week, we will be exploring “Why Christianity?” Why does this version of believing in something or someone capture our attention, imagination and faithfulness more than something else? Why don’t we believe in re-incarnation or the power of the human spirit or that Mohammed is the prophet of Allah?
I know that I won’t be able to provide THE answer or, maybe that I won’t be able to necessarily provide the answer that makes sense for you. But it is a question that I have been working on since I was young man imagining what I might be when I grew up and the idea of becoming a pastor kept floating to the top of the list of possibilities.
So when you come and explore this question at our Soup+Bread Lenten study this week, or you just take some time to ponder this question on your own, I hope that exploring these “Why?” questions are a way for us to journey through Lent together. That, as we seek to understand who and what we are as a community of faith, and why we do what we do, it will help us seek God’s leading for our future.
Blessings on the journey.