The Notion of Mystery

For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known (1 Corinthians 13:12)

Christopher Heuertz, author of Unexpected Gifts, made a comment in a recent post regarding the commonalities among world religions. He stated that one of the most compelling aspects of all faiths is the notion of mystery. He stated that there is something beautiful about wondering, and he especially underscored the importance of wondering together in community.

His comments give me hope. Oftentimes, just as I begin to think that I understand one thing or another about my beliefs, just as I begin to feel confident in any aspect of religious instruction or thought or practice, I am given the opportunity to recognize the folly of my certainty. Just when I think I have figured anything out, I return to square one. I remember that I see in a mirror dimly, and sometimes I don’t see at all. I am again comforted by the comment of Paul Tillich — “The opposite of faith is not doubt, it is certainty.” I feel as if I am in good company.

C. Michael Patton, in his blog Credo House, outlined the Five Great Mysteries of the Christian faith. They are:

  1. Creation out of nothing (ex nihilo). How did God create being out of non-being?
  2. Trinity — One God who eternally exists in three persons
  3. Hypostatic Union — Jesus Christ is fully God and fully Man — not 50%/50%
  4. Scripture — the Bible is fully inspired by God and yet fully written by man
  5. Human Responsibility and Divine Sovereignty — God is sovereign over the entire world, bringing His will in everything. Man is fully responsible for his actions.

In looking at this list, I see the humor of any struggling attempt to obtain an answer.

I am better off to behave as our four-month-old granddaughter does when she sees her fingers. She appears to think — “What are these?” “How do they work?” “What can they do?” She is lost in the mystery and the majesty — and so should I be.

The Rev. Deacon Kitty Davis serves as deacon to St. James Episcopal Church. Kitty is also a therapist and is a native Wilmingtonian. She and her husband enjoy life on the waterfront, life with dogs, parenthood and grandparenthood.

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