Sunday Morning Musings: I told someone this past week that my favourite theological word is “mystery”. This word not only fits with my understanding of “God” but the relationship between creation and the one I call “Creator”. It is also like the adage that tells me that the more I know I realize how much I don’t know.
Many who know me will not be surprised when I say that it is unfortunate that most of us don’t start to live and until we learn and accept that this physical life doesn’t last forever. (Cheap plug: my novella is called “Dying to Live” with a play on words). We are all spiritual beings yet most of us pay little or no attention to this element of our lives until we reach the end-of-life stage of our physical living. Of course, there are many reasons why we choose to avoid the topic of dying and death despite the fact that so many would encourage us to do otherwise (this writer included). Yet, we continue to fear dying (if not death) for many reasons, some of which are rational and some not.
But back to the idea of “mystery”.
We also live in a society that has often pitted religion against science, beliefs against facts, and even The Bible against other writings. Sadly, to do so is to hinder our spiritual growth at our own peril. We live in a society that teaches us to “prove it”. Too often this concept is used with the re-telling of biblical stories. Last week I preached about the story of Noah and his boat (ark). I mentioned that there are endless humourous quips and tales about this story. For some everything is just as the Bible tells us, even including the dimensions. The “unbelievers” might question the idea of “two of every living creature” (Genesis 6:19); even citing the above mentioned verse in contrast with Genesis 7:2 which calls for Noah to takes seven pairs of clean animals. Can you see the mystery within the mystery?
The quest for me becomes not attempting to “solve” this or any other mystery – (I am no William Murdoch or Agatha Christie or…- you get the point). On the other hand, I am not about to simply throw up my hands in defeat and quit. I can still learn and question. But I should never assume that I have all of the answers either. Far too often, one piece of learning leads to a new question and quest in my faith journey; in my spiritual journey.
Unfortunately, many people don’t want the challenge of such a quest. Some want the answers – simple and now. They are the ones who often don’t question any aspects of their faith, even though they may not be totally willing to accept all the precepts of their religion. At the other extreme are those who find themselves so at odds with what they are told that they simply turn away altogether. Interestingly, I wonder how many “new” denominations (not just in Christianity) have been created out of differences of opinion. I remember reading one time about a group that divided over a disagreement about whether facial hair for men should or could include a moustache as well as a beard. Now if I believed in a God who had anthropomorphic characteristics that thought would be both sad and humourous at the same time mixing laughter and tears.
There are many things that I believe about my spiritual journey and these include that I don’t know all there is to know and that is okay. My spiritual journey will not end when my physical body can no longer support itself (with or without medical assistance). I enjoy the mystery fulfilling for me the called from the Westminster Catechism (1648) to “enjoy God” – enjoy the mystery.