Mystery & Wonder, pt. 3 (audio/video): Wonder is our reaction to Mystery

“In the end, we cannot explain . . . Our theological statements set a fence around the mystery, but they don’t exhaustively describe it.”[1]  We “set a fence,” we approach an understanding of God, but we never master our understanding of God.  For instance, the more we learn, the more we want to learn.

There’s a mystery in the way God operates, and wonder is a result.

VIDEO: Mystery & Wonder, pt. 3: Wonder is our reaction to Mystery

 

i. Let’s look at mysterious moves of God in Acts 1-5 (KJV)

Acts 2.18-19And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke:

Acts 2.22: Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:

Acts 2.43: And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.

Acts 4.29-30And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus.

Acts 5.12: And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s porch.

When we think about the idea of mystery, we’re thinking of examples like a sign.  The signs would be the miraculous demonstration of God’s power.  In our day an age we refer to the Gifts of the Spirit, the wonderful ways that the Holy Spirit moves among us.  When He does, those are mysteries.

They aren’t mysteries in the way we think of mystery in Western society, like some sort of mystery or thriller movie.  They are mysterious moves of God.

ii. We are amazed at what He does because it’s mysterious . . . powerful . . . otherworldy . . . beyond comprehension.

Wonder is our reaction to Mystery

Metropolitan Kallistos Ware declares: “To a lot of theology we could apply the criticism, ‘Your God is too small.’  Without a sense of amazement, a willingness to be surprised, without astonishment, there can’t be real teaching or study of theology . . . We need to have in our study of theology some sense of beauty and mystery . . . So there can be no authentic theology, no authentic personhood without a sense of wonder.”[2]

Wonder typically describes the reaction within us to the mystery of God.

iii. Cruz understands that God smiles upon us

Jesus said, “Suffer little children to come unto me,” and without faith like theirs we’re just not going to enter the Kingdom of God (Luke 18.16-17; see also Matthew 19.14; Mark 10.14).

I think of a time when we were doing a Fall Family Festival.  Cruz and Mateo were young.  It was before Eliseo came along.  We were getting ready at the church, putting in long hours during the week leading up to it.  There were about a hundred volunteers from the church that were helping us, but it was all about ready to go south because there was a rain storm predicted.

We were heading back to the car from the church and everybody had been talking about this.

“Oh no, what’s going to happen!”

“Are we going to have a rainstorm?”

I got to the car with Mateo, looked around, and Cruz was still standing by the fountain of the church.  He was looking up, so I started wondering what’s going on?  All of a sudden he just yelled out:

“GOD, MAKE IT NOT RAIN . . .OKAY!?”

Guess whose prayers God heard that day.

It evoked such a sense of wonder in me, because I realized we can just speak out the name of Christ.  We can call out on Him in faith.  He cares enough about us to bless us, even when we’re just having fun!  He smiles upon us.  My son understood it.  He understood the mystery that God could do what he could not do.

JVI, West Bay looking toward town, 07.12.18

iv. Talking Points

I took a moment to share a story with you, something that I would consider mystery and wonder, something that evoked a sense of awe in me.

I’m just wondering if you’ve had moments like that as well . . . if you’ve shared them with others . . . and if you recognize God’s hand at work among us.

He definitely moves, and there are multiple ways that He does.

Sometimes it’s a matter of tuning in.

 

 


[1] Kallistos Ware, “How Should We Study Theology,” Seattle Pacific University Palmer Lectures in Theology, iTunes/iTunesU, March 17, 2008.

[2] Ibid.

 


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