The Holy Mysterious

Rich Sauder made a comment during our congregational meeting yesterday that I have sort of clung onto in my thoughts since then. He reminded us that we have gotten so used to doing worship in a certain way over the years that we may have forgotten that there is mystery in our relationship with Christ as we worship. That is part of the idea I have been trying to get across in some of my more recent blog posts regarding supernatural events in our lives and the life of Christ.

When we enter into worship on Sunday morning, are we truly and fully prepared for the Holy Spirit to show up? We often say that we invite the spirit to our midst, but are we seriously hoping that happens?

I would argue that our worship…no matter what shape it is…is intensely mysterious. We are speaking directly to God and are drawing nearer into his presence. But, do we fully understand that? I like to imagine myself surrounded by an unseen force that connects me to the mysteries of Heaven in a way. We glibly throw around phrases like “hedge of protection” and “spiritual warfare” but I think we often don’t realize how real that stuff is! As I enter worship, do I fully understand how physically close I am to God?

The idea that baptism is not just an outward symbol of something we want the world to know…but a mark of distinction that sets us apart in the spiritual world to show that we are under a banner of power…that one I really liked too, DAD! How the enemy cringes as I walk around showing that off. The sign of the cross has amazing power! It is not just coincidence that horror movies use it to scare off the demons…they know all about it. Are the elements of the eucharist just symbolic or…hmm…am I really partaking?

Let’s get into the mysterious. Put aside the legalities and the laws for a moment and imagine yourself drowning in the sweet comfort of communion with the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Sit still and just listen. In my somewhat abstract thought process, it reminds me of one of those 3D photograph images. You know, the ones that you stare at until your eyes focus on the center and the 3D image suddenly jumps at you. (Not everyone can get those to work, I know that.) Find a quiet moment, go outside and sit down. Look out at the world in front of you. Don’t look at it as much as look through it.

Right there, beyond the tip of your eyelashes, it’s right there.

The mysterious.

All around you an entire scene is playing out and if you just reach through it at the right time, sometimes you get to touch it. It’s amazing and frightening and comforting and quite real. We are not alone in the dark.

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7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Leon
    May 01, 2007 @ 01:05:05

    And that, my dear, is precisely the point. Oh. You want me to unpack that a bit? Ok. Allow me to offload some thoughts.

    It seems to me that in our modernist worldview we have come to understand God (as if that were a possibility). We have tamed God so to speak. “God created man in his own image, and man is trying to return the favor.” I forget who said that, but it describes our reality.

    We treat the Holy Scriptures as our old friend (read I got your number) and are no longer surprised or jarred at what they say. Whereas the scriptures should be able to shake us until our teeth rattle, we read about bread and wine being the body and blood and shrug it off as if it means nothing. We read about forgiveness and cleansing and take it stride. “Of we already know what that means.” might be our unspoken response.

    We no longer experience God as mystery. The idea that God is close to us has so overtaken our being that it has crowded out the reality that God is also utterly beyond us. In fact I believe it is because God is so beyond humanity that he chooses to come to us clothed in a body – Jesus. That radical reality practically unhinged the Gnostics! And God still, in a mysterious way comes to us clothed in matter. We feel God in the loving arms of our brothers and sisters, we take in God in the bread and wine, we are healed by God’s touch in the oil of anointing or in the laying on of hands, the blessing of God comes in holy water…well no need to belabor the point. It is just that somehow the regular “stuff” of our lives has been transformed (mysteriously I might add) by the actual presence of our Lord, so that now it is “regular stuff” and “holy presence” at the same time.

    That reality is quite beyond understanding if you ask me. But then it never was about understanding was it?
    What was it the writer of Hebrews said? By faith…

    Leon

    Reply

  2. divinescribble
    May 01, 2007 @ 01:27:44

    Ha! Leon, you’re blogging and you don’t even know it!

    Thanks for the response. I agree, it’s not about understanding as much as just being okay with not knowing exactly how it all works sometimes.

    We take the idea that God is with us for granted. In doing that, we lose the mysterious awesomeness that we’ll never ever grasp or get enough of! It is that mystery that makes us want to fall on our faces before him in grief or praise or whatever it is at that moment. If we lose that, we are doomed to a superficial religious piety that has nothing to do with God but with habit.

    Reply

  3. iekurtz2
    May 01, 2007 @ 13:25:06

    Audrey,
    I am tempted to congratulate you for your clear thinking, or should I say your embrace of wonder without trying to explain it all. That idea of seeing through the physical (without denying it) and seeing the spiritual is what we need to cultivate in our society. You are working at that.

    Reply

  4. divinescribble
    May 01, 2007 @ 18:03:38

    tempted? You, sir, are obviously my father.

    Reply

  5. sloggy
    May 02, 2007 @ 18:30:33

    Hey this was an excellent Piece of writing!!!! I love it. We do get too complacent.
    I’ve been reading and studying the book of Job with Song the last two days. We have two friends who are going through very very tough situations so it is appropriate that we are doing this writing as we try to be good friends to them.
    It struck me as amazing to be reading the response God gives. Maybe part of the problem is that we don’t often sit down and read big chunks of scripture at a time so it kind of dribbles into our heads and has not so much effect and the other part is we don’t pray heartful prayers for ourselves or others. I find in the springtime when I am wandering in the woods surrounded by wildflowers God seems so much more real to me!

    Reply

  6. divinescribble
    May 03, 2007 @ 12:54:24

    Hey sloggy!

    I like the image of wandering in the woods…beautiful.

    It’s important for me to find something like that to center myself. An image or a place that sets the tone for an amaing encounter with God in a physical way. Not that he can’t and doesn’t show up all the time, but, in my humanness, I need a little stage setting I guess.

    Thanks for stopping by.

    Reply

  7. sloggy
    May 03, 2007 @ 20:13:49

    Yes it is not that He doesn’t show up. The problem is with us. We don’t move the muck out of the way and listen or even talk honestly to Him. My daughterand I read the book of Job together this week and in talking about it we were noticing how Job was so frank and honest with God and God answered him and his friends by saying that He liked that about Job. It is ok to tell Him what you feel and think even when it is negative but also God said go look at the things I have made and how they behave too. We live where it is easy to do that and I am quite spoiled by it. I was talking to a gal today about how healing it is to be able to get out in the wild and soak it in.

    Reply

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