The Holy Mystery

Today’s Readings for the Daily Office

Psalm 25 (Morning)
Psalm 9,15 (Evening)
Amos 7:1-9
Revelation 1:1-18
Matthew 22:23-33

The Holy Mystery

Richard Rohr, in his compelling book The Divine Dance, said, “For fifty years we should all basically stop using the word God. Because…we normally don’t have a clue what we are talking about!” Down through the centuries Christians have used God to support all kinds of ungodly things: wars, prejudices, and dominations of all kinds. Instead, Rohr suggests that we should approach God with humility and simply refer to God as “the Holy Mystery.” Perhaps then we might recognize and accept over time “that we understand very little” (Rohr, 89).

For many of us, the faith we have inherited and been taught is a source of great stability, and supports our understandings of life, God, and ourselves. We draw great comfort from this…until we find ourselves unexpectedly challenged and confronted in our beliefs, sometimes even by our scriptures and our own faith community. That can be quite unsettling and threatening.

In our Gospel lesson for this morning, some Sadducees angrily approached Jesus, concerning his teachings on the resurrection. The Sadducees held no belief in life after death, and they attempted to show Jesus the flaws in HIS thinking on the subject. The Sadducees did what we often do when our long held beliefs are challenged…they became defensive, argumentative, and tried to justify themselves. This, sadly, sounds very familiar in our current divisive political and social climate.

In those moments when we are challenged in our thinking, we too, like the Sadducees, can struggle to hold onto our little mind thinking – where anyone who challenges my ideas is the enemy, where confusing or paradoxical thoughts must be wrong, and where things that cannot be seen or touched, must not be real. Or…we can open our hearts and our minds to the Holy Mystery, who invites us to live humbly with things we don’t understand, to chew on ideas that challenge our thinking, and to wait patiently for a new understanding that is deeper than the one we now hold.

Written by Trent Palmer

Trent is a Realtor by profession and enjoys reading, music – especially bluegrass, camping, hiking, and boating. He grew up United Methodist and was a pastor in the United Methodist Church for 10 years. Trent was confirmed in the Episcopal Church in 2008 at St. Margaret’s in Little Rock, and has been a member of St. Paul’s since he and his family moved to Fayetteville in 2013. Trent and his wife, Kristi, have three children, Elizabeth, Carter, and Katherine. Trent attends the 11:00 am worship service, enjoys volunteering for Magdalene Serenity House, and being a Lay Eucharistic Minister and an EfM (Education for Ministry) Mentor.

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