My three year old has hit the “why” stage. I do have to say on a scale of 1-10, ten being the most annoying thing ever, he is about 5 most of the time with the question “why”. I realize that this is part of the developmental stages of life. At three a child starts to attempt to grasp the world around him and is learning, in depth, cause and effect. It is a stage that he will grow out of. At least that is what I tell myself when my patience wears thin. But do we grow out of it?
While listening to a Rob Bell sermon on “Blessed is the Poor in Spirit.” As his church dives into the sermon on the Mount he brought up some topics that reminded me of my son and most three year olds. As we hear about the Kingdom of God and we, as humans, try to make sense of it we constantly ask God, why? Why should the poor in spirit be blessed? Why do the meek inherit the earth? Or in the case of this week’s lectionary text, why should the first be last and the last be first. Why God? Why? Why? Why?
Now that never satisfied me growing up and I know it does not satisfy my son but let’s face it sometimes it is the best answer. “Daddy, can you throw a ball and hit the moon?” “No.” “Why?” “Well, you see the mass of the ball and the force I can exert on the ball does not equal a force greater than gravity. Plus with the rotation of the earth and the moon, I do not know the right place to launch said ball into space in order to hit the moon.” Even if I did answer my son in that manner all his three year old mind heard was, blah, blah, blah, blah. The best answer I can give him, “because.”
“God, I don’t understand why the rich man cannot get into heaven. He seems to be following all the rules. So he doesn’t want to sell everything he has, so what? Why can’t the wealthy get in with their wealth? Why?” “God, this whole last first, first last thing doesn’t make sense. I know you are all loving and powerful but why set up your kingdom this way. Aren’t the last really in last place for a reason? I mean they don’t have what it takes to be first, so why make them first? Why God, WHY? WHY? WHY?”
God, in all the Fatherlyiness he can muster, shakes his head, and says…because.
As followers of Christ, as worshipers of the One True God, as the people seeking to enter the upside-down Kingdom of God, need to get comfortable with “because.” Our minds cannot wrap around the answer. But our God does answer…how awesome is that. The answer is simply, because.