Sunday, January 4, 2009

Hope and mystery

These are two concepts that form an interesting juxtaposition. They seem to not belong together, to be part of two different worlds. But I think they do come together in issues of spirituality.
Hope is based on past knowledge, a future anticipation formed on past experience. Hope is not 100% certainty, but it is highly likely.
Mystery is pretty much unknown. The best you can hope for in a mystery is to find a few clues. As everything comes together, and things are resolved, often you still don't know all that has happened.
But both hope and mystery come together in the celebration of our faith.
They come together at Christmas.
They are entwined as we look into the future of a new year.
They are inseparable in every part of our faith.
The first Christmas was the culmination of centuries of hope for the promised Messiah, and the wonder and mystery of angels and stars and dreams and shepherds. Our yearly contemplation of Advent relives both the hope and mystery of Christ's first coming.
As we face the unknown future, whether in the context of a new year, or otherwise, it is a mystery. Yet, we can have incredible hope.
In fact, this mix is the complete and never-ending story for a follower of Christ.
No matter how hard we study, life is still a mystery.
We'd like to say we understand this God we worship, but we never will.
We'd like to discover the 'principles' of following Him, but He still refuses to be systematized.
We'd like to have a handle on the future, to turn prophecy into news headlines, but He continues to make sure our guesses are wrong.
We pride ourselves on 'rightly dividing the Word of truth', but still sometimes miss the forest for the trees.
In short, it's still a mystery. We see clues, but fall for some red herrings.
But here's the good news.
We have hope.
Not wishful thinking.
Not just desire.
But hope.
Hope founded on past experience, built on God's faithfulness.
His reputation is unbeatable.
Our hope is well-founded.
We can handle the mystery because of our hope.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You put it so well... and the more I don't have a handle of things-control, if you will, the more I see the hope. As life is taken out of my hands (say a teenage daughter dating for the first time; someone thankfully that we love and trust)I am forced again to go back to unbridled faith in God's hand. Hope.

There is mystery, but not the type that you can never get to the bottom of. I see it as the kind that keeps making me come back for another look, another drink. And there is hope with every dive.

Check out the last part of Philippians in The Message. The part where he says to let worries and praise form our prayer. The way he puts it has really gripped me this week.

Sister Dearest


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