When we built our house, a couple generously invited us to pick through old doors stored in their barn. We used one indoors. My husband combined two others to make a gate wide enough for the wheelbarrow. I painted that door aged-turquoise.
The third door, a battered screen door, I painted a luscious rose. This door seemed to float in the geography of our yard. Actually, it was the door to my vegetable garden. The high wire walls (to keep the deer out) faded into invisibility. On the inside of the door I inscribed: “Go lie in the hammock, dear,” a message every gardener needs to hear at times. For me, this battered screen door stands as an invitation into the mysteries of God.
The word (mysterion), which is translated MYSTERY in the Bible is not mystery as in a puzzle to be worked out, but a secret that must be revealed, something beyond us, beyond our efforts to discover or penetrate it.
For a few years now I’ve been exploring how I might live more fully in the mysteries of God. Life in Christ is steeped in livable-mystery, eternal invisibilities that are beautiful, practical and meant to be lived. I believe we were made for mystery.
Joseph Conrad wrote in his preface to The Nigger of the Narcissus: “But the artist appeals to that part of our being which is not dependent on wisdom; to that in us which is a gift and not an acquisition—and, therefore, more permanently enduring. He speaks to our capacity for delight and wonder, to the sense of mystery surrounding our lives: to our sense of pity, and beauty and pain.”
Conrad is right. Human wisdom doesn’t unclothe mystery. Revelation comes to us as a gift, not a discovery or an acquisition. God reveals what we could never know otherwise. How could humans discover a God who is invisible, eternal, holy? God is NOT discovered; He must reveal Himself. This is the glorious heart of all mystery: revelation is God educating us about Himself, ourselves, the world and the world to come.
Another mystery. Another marvel. God planted in us the capacity to receive this revelation—or to reject it.
Live the mystery.