Asking Why

I love to tell the story of the young father who was teaching his kids how to prepare Great Grandma’s Famous Family Pot Roast. He proudly and with great ceremony retrieved the roasting pan from the cupboard and the roast from the fridge. Using the largest knife, he carefully cut a slice from the end of the roast, wrapped it and returned it the the fridge. “Why did you do that?” his middle son asks. With the most puzzled of looks, the dad responds, “I don’t know, I guess because that’s how I was taught to do it.” The oldest daughter picks up the phone and calls her grandmother whose own response is the same, “I don’t know, it’s what my mother always did.” Undeterred, the girl thanks her grandmother and dials again, “GG, why do we cut the end off the roast before cooking it?” After a moment of silence, GG says, “I don’t know why you do it but your great grandpa always bought a roast bigger than we needed so there’d be extra for his famous beef tips and mashed potatoes the next day. They all look at each other in disbelief as she politely thanked GG and said good bye. Finally, the youngest says, “Daddy, can we have beef tips tonight and roast tomorrow?”

So many of our routines and habits are often just on autopilot. And while this may serve us well in some instances (I mean who really needs to think about brushing their teeth or washing dishes), at other times it can cause us to miss out on something really good.

In the stories of our most ancient faith ancestors, God instructs them to conduct festivals and feasts so that they and their children and their children’s children will remember certain things: remember who God is, remember who they are, remember all that God has done for them. When Jesus instructs the disciples during the last meal he eats with them, he says to do what he’s shown them in order to remember.

Remembering isn’t being stuck in the past, but letting what has come before inform and shape us as we continuously grow. As we acknowledge and celebrate the feasts and festivals of our faith, we let ourselves be reminded of who God is and who we are in relationship with God.

What faith practices are you less than intentional with? When was the last time you asked with curiosity and courage “Why do we do that?”

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