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Mystery: The Orthodox Taboo of Christianity

And then she told me, ‘Your father, your girlfriend, and your brother were run off the road. They didn’t make it. They’re dead.’ I didn’t know what to say. How do you respond to hearing those words over the phone?”

As he told me this story, my friend began to subtly cry—one small tear at a time. I didn’t know what to say either. But I quickly realized, there’s nothing to say—just listen. In listening, I learned something profound.

The art of listening alone is profound. But I learned something else from my friend on Tuesday night. After telling me his story, he began to talk about something that is shockingly taboo: Christ is mystery.

The words of Paul suddenly rang in my head. Paul says to the Ephesians:

“You have heard, haven’t you, about the administration of God’s grace that He gave to me for you? The mystery was made known to me by revelation ... By reading this [letter] you are able to understand my insight about the mystery of the Messiah. This was not made known to people in other generations as it is now revealed to His holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit: the Gentiles [non-Jews] are co-heirs, members of the same body [that is the church], and partners of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel. I was made a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace that was given to me by the working of His power” (Ephesians 3:1–7 HCSB).

I couldn’t get these words out of my head as my friend, who happens to be on the underside of power, kept saying, “And that’s the mystery. God has come to me. Without him, I wouldn’t be here. I couldn’t survive this without him. I have nothing left. I’ve lost everything. But I have Christ—that’s the mystery of his gospel. He comes to me in my pain, and in everyone who wants him.” Paul realized the same thing. And on Tuesday night, I finally got the profoundness of Christ coming to everyone.

By us making the whole notion of “mystery” taboo in our churches—because we believe it will lead to cult religions or something else—we have lost sight of what the mystery of Christ can do for those who are hurting.

Instead of trying to explain to those in pain how God will be there for them, or explain why people die, we need to encourage people to seek out the mystery of Christ. We need to help people see that when their entire life lacks certainty, only a great mystery can comfort them—only Jesus.

Paul was right. We need the mystery of the Messiah. We need a little taboo mystery in our lives. We need something incomprehensible, something astounding. We need the infinite God in the midst of everything.

So tell me: What could a little taboo, yet orthodox, Christianity do for you? Where do you need mystery in your life? How can you bring Christ’s mystery into the lives of your friends?

Some recommended reading related to this subject:

Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

Orthodoxy by G.K. Cheserton

Feel by Matthew Elliott

Note: The recommended reading links are affiliate links, which means I will make a small amount if you purchase something after clicking through them. Also, I received a free review copy of Matthew Elliott’s Feel. Nonetheless, I only recommend books I personally find helpful.

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The Infinite God is everywhere, are you looking? I am dedicated to finding God in all aspects of life – the Bible, the news, and the arts. Because I find that the most fulfilling journey of all is searching for heaven here on earth.