Summary: Part 7 in series Love Never Dies, this message looks at the mysterious sayings of Christ in this chapter and emphasizes the role of mystery in the life of faith.
Making Room for Mystery
Love Never Dies, prt. 7
Wildwind Community Church
May 16, 2010
Today’s message is for anyone who might have had any concerns at all that in the past few weeks I have somehow slipped into heresy! I want to assure you that has not happened at all. I can assure you that my faith in God is more vibrant at this moment than at any time in my life. I have never been as excited as I am now about all I am learning and how I see fruits of God’s Spirit growing in my life day by day. But today’s message is for anyone who has had those concerns. Because for me this whole thing has completely not been about rejecting Christianity -- it has simply been an increasing openness to mystery. Mystery is critical in spiritual understanding and if we lose touch with mystery, then no matter how devout we are in our practice of Christianity, we have lost touch with God – because God simply IS mystery!
Wildwind Church has always been about mystery! This is from our statement of core values on our website.
6. Mystery - We value the mystery of God by acknowledging that he is to be found as much in questions as in answers, seeking as in finding, and doubting as in believing. We will say and do nothing that portrays God as being without mystery. (Job 42:3; Eph. 3:2-9)
Emphasis on mystery is a core part of who we are. Now by this I don’t mean talking about abstract intellectual questions. When Nicodemus tried asking those kinds of questions to Jesus, Jesus said, “You are procrastinating with your questions.” Later in today’s message you will see how Christ responds the same way to some of his own disciples, saying, “You’re missing the point.”
Actual spiritual conversation engages us with mystery. Engages us –not just in our heads, but in our hearts. Actual spiritual conversation invites us in to that mystery – not as objective outside observers, but as participants in the mystery. We don’t like mystery. We like clarity. There’s nothing wrong with clarity. Wesleyan theology says that Jesus Christ is the best representative of God that has ever been on earth. That is a clear statement and we embrace that wholeheartedly. Clarity is great, and useful, but clarity can blind us from truth, just like the sun provides the light by which we see, but also can blind us when we look at it the wrong way. The very power of the light itself is what creates clear shadows, right? I do not reject the idea of clarity, but I am hoping today that we can get acquainted with mystery – mystery is what is left in the shadows – what is not known in spite of what is known. Mature faith needs both mystery and certainty. We cannot say that only certainty is appropriate for faith, because faith is actually most needed when we are not completely clear – when we do not claim to completely know something. I am not asking you to blindly agree with anything I am saying. I am asking you to think on it and compare it to your own experience. Tell me, from your experience is it true that the brightest light casts the darkest shadows? Why would that not be true in the spiritual life? From your experience, is it true that faith is most needed when things are not completely clear? None of this means anything unless it resonates with you – unless the Holy Spirit confirms in your own heart that what you are hearing is true.