Part 2: A Living Mystery
“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” (Revelation 22:13 NIV)
In my last blog I talked about how life sometimes feels like we’re “living a mystery.” This world can be confusing, God can feel distant or hidden at times, and we don’t know what danger could be lurking around the corner. All of this can lead to us feeling overwhelmed and paranoid. This is mainly because we, as human beings, do not like existing in a state of the “unknown.” This is why, as I pointed out in the last blog, Lost is so polarizing as a TV show.
In fact, David Crowder is one that refuses to watch the show until it ends and he can read the reviews on it because he believes J.J. Abrams has an “inability to finish a story.” And, if we’re not careful, we can begin to think the same things of the Author of all things. Our life of faith can be exciting and mysterious at first, but it can end up being frustrating and confusing without the proper perspective. We can begin to seriously doubt Paul’s words in Philippians when he says, “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6 NIV) We begin to see God as Jeremiah did at one point in his life when he said (paraphrased), “You pushed me into this, GOD, and I let you do it. You were too much for me. And now I’m a public joke. They all poke fun at me.” (Jeremiah 20:7 MSG)
Is there an alternative to feeling like you are living a mystery? I believe there is, and I believe that alternative is to become “a living mystery.” Madeleine L’Engle put it best when she said, “To be a witness is to be a living mystery. Live in such a way that one’s life would not make sense if God did not exist.” And that is the life that Christ has called us to. We are to be a witness to the resurrected Christ and to live a life worthy of his Gospel.
People can easily conjure up all sorts of mental images and definitions when they hear the word “Gospel,” so we have taken the time to define what we believe it means at Harris Creek in our core values. We certainly believe that the Gospel or “Good News” of Jesus is our personal means for salvation and atonement when we repent of our sin. Many people think this is only what the Gospel means. We also believe that the Good News means that we live in such a way that shows that Christ resides within us. Many people take the social implications of the Gospel and say this is only what the Good News means. We believe it means both. But there is a third component that most leave out when it comes to defining the Gospel that Jesus came proclaiming and that is the fact that our lives are lived future to present. This means that Christ followers live with an understanding that Jesus will return to complete the renewal of the entire material creation, an end toward which he invites us to participate. And this, to me, is all the difference when it comes to becoming “a living mystery.”
If you are a follower of Christ, you are not without hope. Christ has conquered the last enemy, which is death, and reigns with all authority under heaven and on earth. He was there in the very beginning and will be there in the very end. And, as Jacob would say on Lost, “It only ends once. Anything that happens before that is just progress.”
So my question to you is what are you afraid of? Death? It has been dealt with through the physical resurrection of Christ. Pain and suffering? They are realities of our world that are unavoidable and actually produce fruit in our lives. On top of that, Christ promises us that he is with us in our suffering. Are you afraid of not having enough resources to survive? Christ says that your Heavenly Father is watching over you and providing for you in every instance. Are you afraid of being alone the rest of your life? Christ promises His followers that He is with us until the end of the age. Do you doubt that God is real? Well, Paul would give you the advice to “eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” (1 Corinthians 15:32 NIV). This is because living a life without the hope of Christ is futile and meaningless. What can be more frightening than that?
I believe as Christians we have the option to live with the end in mind. I believe, through the power of Christ, we can become “a living mystery” that stands as a witness to the world around us. Will life be frustrating and confusing at times? Sure. But in the midst of that confusion, we still know how this story ends. It ends with Christ. And the task in front of you is to take this life to those outside of Christ. The task is to become Christ to others by being a living mystery. Or as Paul would say it, “The mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Colossians 1:26–27 NIV)