Summary: To ask the question of Seminarians: Where has our wonder of God’s mystery gone? And how can we put that wonder of the mystery of God back in our lives?
The Mystery of God?
Aim: To ask the question of Seminarians: Where has our wonder of God’s mystery gone? And how can we put that wonder of the mystery of God back in our lives?
Purpose: The way in which we put the mystery back is by leaving space for ‘not knowing’ about God because we cannot know God entirely.
• There is no God!
• I have been joking around with Vusi the past couple of days insisting that God does not exist.
• Some might say that I have committed blasphemy, and I would agree with you all.
• The truth is though, that I sometimes feel like that, especially as a student of theology.
• I also believe that we all at sometime feel this way, perhaps not always, but at some time in our lives.
• We began once as young Christians with an awe and wonder of God that we could just not explain and now we are filled with the knowledge of doctrines and rational thinking.
• Our imaginations could run wild when we thought of God.
• There was somewhat of a mystery about God that kept us on fire for God.
• I want to know where that mystery has gone?
• That sense of not knowing the secretness of God.
• The problem arises when you get what some call adolescent Christians.
• Many of us here have teenage children; some of us were teenagers not so long ago.
• Haven’t you noticed how teenagers know it all – there’s nothing you can teach them?
• Well Christians get like that too at times in their lives – where they know everything about God.
• So much so that they forget about the fact that we cannot know God fully.
• This challenged me when I read a book called Your God is too safe by Mark Buchanan.
• On the one hand we are faced with a faith based on, what Mark Buchanan says, staggering mysteries – the trinity, the incarnation, the cross and the resurrection.
• On the other hand we are able to write slick and well-explained essays on each of those subjects.
• My intention today is ask the question I asked just now, “Where has that mystery gone?”
• Not to displace the importance of our studies in theology and bible.
• I certainly believe that if we leave those behind we will not be grounded and we will not be able to minister to real people.
• What I am talking about is this:
• I’m sure all of us have experienced a kiss before, I’m not talking about the kind you give your granny, I mean THAT kind of kiss.
• Now if I describe a kiss in pure physical terms it sounds disgusting.
• I mean two people press their moist, creased facial orifices together, pinch tight the sphincter muscles to draw the flesh around the orifice into a bulbous mound, and exchange saliva and breath.
• That just takes the whole mysterious reason why we kiss our loved ones.
• You see we sometimes fall into the danger of describing God so intricately that we miss the mystery of God our loved one.
• My intention is to help us find that mystery again that kept us on fire in the beginning, to be able to use our imaginations again.
What is this mystery?
• Two men in the bible experienced that mystery that I’m talking about, both of them in our readings today.
• Moses found out about that mystery the day he went tending the sheep in the far side of the desert that one fateful day.
• As he was walking he noticed a most peculiar sight, a bush that was on fire and it was not burned up.
• We all know the events around this so let me just say this – it was here that God would reveal God’s identity to Moses.
• Now fire is often used in the bible to describe the presence of God and this was no different.
• A strange and mysterious way to reveal Godself to Moses.
• Another thing here is that God identifies Godself to Moses by saying "I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” It is not Moses who identifies God.
• After God reveals God’s plan to him, Moses asks how he should identify God to the Hebrews.
• A name in that context was something that described the essence, the very being of the name bearer.
• Now it is interesting to note here that up until now, God had been identified according to various attributes of God i.e. El Shaddai (God Almighty), El Elyon (God most high), El Olam (God eternal) and El Roi (God who sees me).