Ascension Church

Homily, Aug. 27, 2017


I. In his Letters to a Young Poet, Rainer Rilke encourages a 19-year-old aspiring artist that understanding and experiencing the world around him is the way to truth. In one letter, Rilke writes that, because we have more questions than answers, we must try to love the questions. He writes,


Do not now seek the answers…Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.



II. “Live the questions.” And there are many questions today, right? Neo-Nazis? White supremacy? How did we get back here? Why are we still here?
Jesus asks a stunning question of his disciples today: “Who do you say that I am?” Imagine a spouse, or parent, or friend asking you that question. The question, and its response, would define everything.


III. When we truly hear and understand the question—“Who do you say that I am?”—and who is asking it, we begin to understand who we are and whose we are. We understand ourselves to be those whom the living Christ sees, those to whom he speaks, those he seeks, those he pursues, those he has chosen to continue his mission. So, if Jesus were to pose this question today, how would I answer, and what would be the implications of that answer?


• You are the Christ, the one who will establish justice on the earth for people of all races and lands—and I offer my gifts and services to you in this venture.

• You are the Christ, the one who will ensure that the vulnerable and marginalized will not be exploited, that the immigrant will not be disrespected—and I will stand with you in their defense.
• You are the Christ, the one who will usher in the kingdom of peace—and I commit myself to the practice of peace in all my relationships.
• You are the Christ, the one who will refashion us into a holy people and nation—and I open myself to any transformation necessary to be your disciple.


“Who do you say that I am?” Live the question. Live that question.


h/t: Dianne Bergant