I STARTED THIS ‘mixed medium’ piece of art this Summer as an Ink with Pen and Brush. I wasn’t too happy with the outcome and decided to add Watercolor. Still not too satisfied with the finished work, but I did learn some things.
I am using it for today’s Thought—‘mystery’—as a representation of means (Church and nature) through which we may discover answers.
I ASKED MARJ another question over breakfast Sunday morning: “What makes a ‘mystery’ a ‘mystery’?” Her answer: “Do you mean, like, in a movie?… I guess it’s not knowing the answer.” I can go with that for a definition: A ‘mystery’ is not knowing the answer.
Generally, in a novel or movie, the answer to the ‘mystery’ is either quickly shown the viewer in the first minute or two but hidden from the character whose job it is to solve the mystery, until the end. You get to watch the process. Or, we watched a TV ‘mystery’ last week that kept us, as well as the investigator, unaware of the answer util the last few minutes. I like to try and ‘solve’ the mystery as part of the challenge. What about you?
Earlier this year I read a blog written by Richard Rohr that caught my attention. It has caused me to think about two words and how they are (or are not) related: ‘mystery’ and ‘mystic’. Our Thought word ‘mystery’ for this blog comes from Paul’s letter to the Colossians.
This mystery has been kept in the dark for a long time, but now it’s out in the open. God wanted everyone, not just Jews, to know this rich and glorious secret inside and out, regardless of their background, regardless of their religious standing. The mystery in a nutshell is just this: Christ is in you, so therefore you can look forward to sharing in God’s glory. It’s that simple. That is the substance of our Message.
—Colossians 1:26-27, The Message
Mystery of Christ in You
“The Christ Mystery that Paul speaks of in Colossians is the indwelling of the Divine Presence in everyone and everything. Paul was a mystic of the first magnitude, which explains why he was able to see Christ everywhere. When I use the word “mystic” I am referring to experiential knowing instead of just textbook or dogmatic knowing. The difference tends to be that the mystic sees things in their wholeness, their connection, their universal and divine frame, instead of just their particularity. Mystics get the whole gestalt in one picture, as it were, and thus they go beyond our more sequential and separated way of seeing the moment. In this they tend to be closer to poets and artists than to linear thinkers.
“Obviously, there is a place for both perspectives, but since the Enlightenment of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, there has been less and less appreciation of such seeing in wholes. We limited ourselves to rational knowing and the scientific method. So in our time, this deep mode of seeing must be approached as something of a reclamation project. After the Western Church separated from the East in the Great Schism of 1054, we gradually lost the profound understanding of how God has been liberating and loving all that is.”
Am I a ‘Mystic’?
Am I a ‘mystic’? I think Yes in one sense and No in another. I am a ‘mystic’ in that I have a spiritual union with God through the indwelling Spirit of Jesus. I am not a ‘mystic’ in the sense that everything is God and God is everything. I consider a better spelling for followers of Jesus could be myster[ic]. As a ‘mysteric’ I am one who believes in the ‘mystery’ as I see Paul uses it in Colossians, but not what might be understood as worshipping the creation rather than the creator.
The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. Genesis 2:15
“You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. Deuteronomy 5:8
He [Jesus] is before all things, and in him all things hold together. Colossians 1:17
 Adapted from Richard Rohr Blog Meditation, Summer 2021