“MYSTERY AND COMPREHENSION”

WORDS FROM W.W. April 12, 2011
A lady in front of me at Starbucks this morning paid for her latte’ with her cell phone. I was amazed! I’m still just trying to hit the right numbers on mine to call someone. I felt extremely primitive when I paid for my coffee the old-fashioned way, with currency.
There is an “app” that she had on her phone that allows her to scan her phone to pay for her drink. My mouth was wide open in awe. In the midst of my wonder I still wasn’t at that place where I could comprehend the action. How does the transaction get from the cell phone and scanner to the financial institution? I mean, I know it does, but I don’t know how it does it! It’s a wondrous mystery! I can’t even make the statement “I’ve got to get me one of those things!”, because I’m still fearfully amazed by it.
“Here, I’ll just stick with two Washingtons!’ It will help thin out my wallet a little bit.”
There is mystery, and then there is comprehension; and often the two are not holding hands with each other.
Last Sunday people from four of our neighborhood churches were led through a Seder meal by a rabbi. As we went through the bitter herbs, matzoh, parsley, and other elements, the rabbi often would be reading or speaking in Hebrew. Several times he led us in reciting Hebrew together. I have no idea what it was that I was saying, but there was an element of mystery to the experience.
Not a bad mystery! It’s different than my comment made about a basketball official a couple years ago who was doing the game I was coaching. I told someone after the game that “Every time he blew his whistle it was a mystery that was about to be revealed!”
This mystery had a special feel to it. You sensed that in the midst of the foreign language being spoken that there was the story of God being told. My lack of comprehension did not dim the glow of the mystery.
Sometimes there is a wide gap of cluelessness between the language and practices of the church. People that enter into a worship gathering, or a prayer time, or a Bible study, and have no background of understanding, are left in the dark. There needs to be some awareness of that.
And yet, we need not over-explain to the point that we lose sight of the Mystery of God. I’ve been intrigued in reading the stories of the Resurrection, and the events following it, at how many times the followers of Jesus didn’t comprehend, but they still were drawn into the mystery. There are moments of being aware that something of God was taking place, but comprehension didn’t enter into the picture until some time later.
The best way I might describe it is being on a tour of an art museum and having a tour guide explain the history and the meaning of a painting…but then there is the actual gazing at the painting, the pause in the words, and the absorbing of the scene into one’s mind and memory. All the words, and history, and explanation about why certain colors were used, can not replace the pause to view and reflect.
I didn’t understand the words of the rabbi, but I sensed some of the mystery. God is about mystery, and also, in His timing and His ways, revelation.
I’ll keep that in mind when someone whips out there cell phone to pay for their new High Definition TV!

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