Cherish the Mystery of God, Convivium, Matthew Van Abbema, Mysteries and Secrets, The mystery of God, Wonder, Wonder at God's Mystery, Wonder is how we relate to God
Wonder is how we relate to the mystery of God, finding truth beyond the horizon and yet just in our grasp.
Excerpts of the following article is taken from and article written by Matthew Van Abbema in Convivium Weekly (I recommend their free weekly email newsletter).
“God is sometimes a stranger, but every stranger can bring us to the new, the unexpected and the transformative. I cannot believe in a God not wonderful enough to be always a little mysterious…
I cherish the mystery of God. There is little else so worthy of my attention and my devotion. I am sure someone, somewhere or sometime in the world, loved lines and squares because they were simple, but he loved them only because he himself was not simple…
When we come upon or discover truth, it should only be a matter of processing information and yet sometimes it is not. Sometimes the information leaves us disturbed, disgruntled, uneasy, joyous, delighted or pleased (and of all the emotions we feel from wonder, pleased is the oddest). As if what we expected, but could only hope for what was there all along, truly was there. Before we met the truth, we knew it was hiding and where it decided to hide. That is the essence of mystery and our wonder for it; we know that something is there and we have an inkling of what it is. A nagging that draws us in through wonder…
Wonder is how we relate to the mysteriousness of God, the truth that is just beyond the horizon and yet just in our grasp. How we finally take ahold of this truth is, in my opinion at least, through reason. When we study, when we learn, when we ask questions and engage in dialogue, this is when I feel we are fulfilling our sense of wonder.
Wonder is the ethereal, the dream-like and the passionate, while reason is the transformative and the practical. Tell me the last time you saw or met someone who wished with all their heart to be married and dreamt of it every day. How often did they wonder what it is like to be married, to be a husband or a wife, but have no interest in actually fulfilling that dream? Alternatively, how awful would it be to love the idea of being married without wanting to put in the effort of being worthy of marriage? I imagine that some people love the romance of marriage, but do not equally love the chance to better themselves for it.
The mysterious quality of God does not mean that He is undiscoverable. The Mystery of God calls us into the joy of discovering Him further. When it relates to God, discovery, the process of exploring His mystery, is something truly joyous.
To search for the mysterious and truth, to be enchanted by it and ultimately, to want to know what or who or how it is—this is wonder. To love it, to learn it and to let it transform and change us, this is reason. It is clear to me that those who say that the mystery of God is opposed to reason have not understood what is meant by ‘mystery.’ It is also clear that those who love God are those who find something new to love each day.”
This is More Enigma than Dogma
For more see: Mysteries and Secrets.
It is also clear that those who love God are those who find something new to love each day.
Hi Rusty, as a theolog of yesteryear, I was first introduced to the sense of mystery in the divine by Rudolf Otto’s classic, ‘The Idea of the Holy.’ He pleaded for the non-rational factor of the idea of the divine and its relation to the rational. Looking back now, he probably took ‘the mysterium tremendum’ and the ‘numinous’ idea too far, but he did impact me with the mystical element in knowing God. As one old worship hymn puts it, ‘Lost in wonder, love and praise!’ Thanks for the post.
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R.H. (Rusty) Foerger said:
Hi Erroll, I get the sense we had similar influences, since I wrote a major paper on Otto’s work way back when we were inventing dirt (smile). No doubt he influenced me to where I am today, but many others along the way have contributed to the notion of the “mystery of God” (as Paul uses the word μυστηριον ~ “mysterion” 7 times in Ephesians to speak to the nature of God, the gospel, and marriage). Thus you will find sprinkled everywhere in my writing – the notion of mystery or “enigma”, as the title of my blog hints. You may be interested in a paper I wrote speaking to the “invitation to a mystery” (but forgive me, as I do not wish to presume upon you): https://moreenigma.com/2018/08/15/invitation-to-a-mystery/.
In the mean time, grace to you in the joy of writing to conversations about Jesus and Community. Surely a heavenly pursuit.
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You’ve referenced some of my favourite authors too, Nouwen and von Balthasar. It will be a pleasure to re-read your paper above in the next day or two. Every good wish.
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