Little words of power, you know them. Words like please (there’s a reason that parents and teachers refer to it as the magic word), or no (a small child’s discovery of self-assertion infuses this little word with considerable physical and emotional energy), or yes (it opens arms and doors). Nothing, however, is more powerful than why – since every why begets another why.
Moms and dads (and children) know that sometimes the only way to stop the next why from popping up like the next pearl on an endless string is the ancient parental reply, “Because I said so.”
Quite often the only good response to why is, “I don’t know,” and occasionally the best reply is to hand it back, “Good question. What do you think the answer might be?”
Why quickly takes us to the heart of things. Why is the sky blue? Why do the stars only shine at night? Why does skin get wrinkly?
And why takes us to the places where we find ourselves completely surrounded by deep mystery. Why do some people suffer more than others? Why does love end? Why is there something rather than nothing?
A couple of weeks ago, one of our children raised a beautiful question in Sunday school, “Why did God make us?”
What do you think? Is it because God loves stories? Is it because God needs company? Is it because people are more interesting than other creatures? Are we? Is it because God delights in creatures that ask questions?
Sometime this summer, I will preach a sermon in response to this fine question. I decided to do that the moment Sarah Ligon told me how the question emerged in her group of children one Sunday morning. Later I wondered if there were other questions that hang around the corners of the hallways, waiting to be asked.
Do you have a question you would like me to address one Sunday morning? Would you share it with me? We may have a lovely little series of sermons triggered by when, why, what, who, where and how. Please send me an email or simply leave a comment below, will you?