A Good Mystery
A Good Mystery
“Immortal, Invisible, God only wise, in light inaccessible hid form our eyes, most blessed, most glorious, the Ancient of days, Almighty, Victorious, Thy great name we praise.” Rev. Walter C. Smith, 1867
Who doesn’t love a great mystery? In a novel, on TV, or in the movies? I enjoy a good mystery.
I love to follow a classic “who done it” and see how the great detective or sleuth comes to his/her conclu-sion. Through television we often see the whole picture; We see the whole crime unfold, as well as what is happening behind the scenes that the detective does not. I can actually tell “who did it” even when the per-petrator’s identity is not obvious, just by the way these shows are edited. From this fact alone, it is easy to tell I watch too many TV mysteries.
What about mysteries about God? To understand these mysteries, perhaps we should start with the mystery of God himself. How do we know who God is? People have different understandings and ideas of God (or god). Whose idea is correct; how do we know? In answer to that question, consider the disciples interaction with Jesus. Despite good intentions, they were often baffled by the sayings and ways that Jesus describes as “being part of the kingdom of heaven.” They thought they knew God, so they were astounded at Jesus’ teachings, especially the lessons given in parable form.
However; like a TV mystery, we too have the whole picture presented to us through God’s Word. This was a concept I contemplated after reading a monthly devotional. The author defined the meaning of a mystery as follows: “Mystery is bound up by the gospel.” At first glance, this seems counter-intuitive. How can something we know be a “mystery?” Yet the workings of God center upon just that. The mean-ing of mystery involves learning about God by what is revealed, not by what has not been revealed. You can see we learn about the mystery of God in scripture. Despite this, God still remains largely a mystery, in the sense that we cannot fully comprehend, know and experience how deep His love is; how awesome His ways and judgements are, to paraphrase one of the Psalmists. Yet in that lack of “knowing all things of God,” comes illumination by His Holy Spirit, which gives testimony to the truth. So when viewed in that light, mystery is not only a gift, it becomes a revelation.
In the theological calendar, May is a month of mystery for us as the Body of Christ. Several events occur through which we will learn about, and join in, worshipping the One who gave us these mysteries. The first is the Ascension of Jesus Christ. Thinking back over all the years that I have attended church, not to mention seminary, I cannot recall hearing anything profound or significant about Christ’s ascension. Yet this is a milestone in the life of the church for it paves the way for other events, such as the church’s birth-day: Pentecost.
Want to hear and learn of several great mysteries? I encourage you all to attend worship and be prepared to learn of the mysteries that await us in May: Ascension, Pentecost and Trinity Sunday
Yours in Christ,