Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Mystery Breaking Into Our Reality

The farther along I get in ministry, the more I see the mystery. Most of the time, I feel like a beginner at the art of seeing with new eyes. But the more I navigate myself and others through denominational anxiety over decline, congregational anxiety over finances, and relational anxiety over what it means to be in community, the more I trust that there is a vast mystery in our midst.

What is this mystery? It is the kingdom of God and it is real, though it is a different kind of reality than what is seen on the surface. We can not create it with our own hands or stop it with our own failures. The prayer so easily rolls off our tongues saying "thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven," but we live as if we do not believe this happens by grace and as if it's up to us to fix the world.

In the end, we can only pray that God sheds the scales covering our eyes so that we can begin to see it, then begin to trust it. Henri Nouwen wrote of this truth in Finding My Way Home: Pathways to Life and the Spirit by saying:

"The seeds of national and international peace are already mysteriously sown in the soil of our own pain and in the suffering of the poor. We can trust these seeds, like the mustard seeds of the gospel that grow and produce large shrubs.

"As long as we imagine and dlive as if there is no peace in sight, and that it all depends on us to make it come about, we are on the road to self-destruction. But when we trst that the God of love has already given the peace we are searching for, wee will see this peace breaking through the broken soil of our human condition andd we will be able to let it grow fast and even heal the maladies of our time. With this trust in our hearts, we will be able to hear the words: 'Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God' (Mt 5:9)."