Lent 2018–Pi and Chi: Asking and Answering Questions Why

Soon Lent begins.  An annual rhythm, a cycle, a circle, a question repeated:


Every year I pray through what to do for Lent (not so much what to give up, although this year Lent begins on Ash Wednesday otherwise known as February 14th, Valentine’s Day much to the chagrin of vendors of chocolate, a favored sacrificial item).  Nope, I pray about what God wants to speak to me, to you, and to those in our lives during this special and sacred 40 day season of Lent that comes and goes each year with the regularity of waves on the beach.

I cannot escape what goes on in my life as I pray. 

Two movies have made me think lately. 

One I’ve seen, “Life of Pi,” and the other, “I, Tonya,” I will not see. 

There’s a question that arises from both, particularly as it relates to suffering. 

In real life, Nancy Kerrigan, the figure skater whose life was changed the day of the assault upon her, recently has been shown in video reliving the moment of her injury as pundits discuss the morality of glorifying Tonya Harding in a movie.  The news clip shown over and over again displays Nancy grimacing in pain, crying out, “Why, why, why?” 

“Why?” is a hard question.  It’s among the questions Pi asks in the “Life of Pi” movie script.

  • Why would a god do that?
  • Why would he send his own son to suffer for the sins of ordinary people?
  • If God is so perfect and we’re not, why would He want to create all this?
  • Why does He need us at all?  
  • Sacrificing the innocent to atone for the sins of the guilty? What kind of love is that? (In other words, why?)

Lots of questions “Why?” in the movie, but there’s another repeated phrase that cycles like a rhythm and strikes the heart like a thunderbolt, a repetition each of us could utter:

I’m sorry!” 

Yes, the movie blurs the lines of world religions and that’s worth addressing!  It’s been making me think about the uniqueness of Christ.  After all, not all world religions are the same.  Thinking about Pi and his writing the digits of the number pi in class to change his name, and how it’s an utterly unique number. 

In his New Yorker article, “Why Pi Matters,” Steven Strogatz, professor of mathematics at Cornell, writes, “The beauty of pi, in part, is that it puts infinity within reach. Even young children get this. The digits of pi never end and never show a pattern. They go on forever, seemingly at random—except that they can’t possibly be random, because they embody the order inherent in a perfect circle. This tension between order and randomness is one of the most tantalizing aspects of pi.”

Jesus puts infinity within reach

…but a reach bridged only by faith. 

Why?  Yeah, it’s a hard question but a good one.

So, for Lent 2018, we’ll explore the questions of Pi and Chi (the Greek letter beginning the word Christos, which means Christ, Messiah, the Anointed One). We’ll ask and answer the question “Why?” as we discover the uniqueness of Jesus Christ.  Join me for the 40 days of Lent beginning February 14, 2018 by liking Seminary Gal on Facebook or having these devotionals sent to your email box which you can do via the sign-up on my Home page.  Thank you for blessing me with this opportunity to study together the Word of God.


Acknowledging that former years’ devotional series remain popular:

Categories Articles and Devotionals, Devotionals | Tags: | Posted on January 19, 2018

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