If you've lost your sense of mystery, then do what you must to retrieve it. Mystery emerges in the most simple of places. Most often it manifests itself in reaction to the beauty and goodness encountered in our everyday life—through feelings of awe and wonder, events that elicit thanksgiving.
The late German theologian and writer Hans Urs Von Balthasar wrote:
All things can be considered in two ways: as fact and as mystery. Simple people, farmers for instance, can often integrate both ways in a lovely harmony. In children it would for the most part be easy to develop a sense of mystery; but teachers and parents can seldom generate enough humility to speak of it.
Keeping and cultivating a sense of mystery protects against pride and keeps us as children before the Lord. As I think through how to keep mystery in my life, three pathways emerge.
Pace of Life - Evaluate your everyday—your context. Mystery reveals itself to the simple because their pace of life allows them to encounter more. The to and fro of busy-ness can too often blind us with a false sense of efficiency and success.
Slow down. and see life. If you do, mystery will blindside you daily and in the most uncommon ways.
Offering of Praise - Celebrate the simple things. Celebrate the beautiful things. "Sing joyfully to the Lord, you righteous; it is fitting for the upright to praise him (Psalm 33:1)."
As God's children it makes sense to celebrate hm for all that he's done and will do. "By praising something," writes C.S. Lewis, "you complete it's enjoyment."
A Thankful Heart - Thankfulness marks the contented heart. Not so the prideful heart. Pride desires more, and even more—it bears the insatiable marke of avarice. When we say "Thank you" to God, we live in the contentment of his grace-blessing.
This week I found several dahlia blossoms collected in the crook of one of our little Sweet Gum trees in the back yard. My girls leave little faerie offerings like that all over the landscape; I love finding them while I'm pruning and weeding.
Their pagan delight reminds me of the importance of spiritual mystery in my life. It slows me down so I can feel the cool spring air yet lingering on the late May breeze. It reopens my eyes to behold his glory I so often miss because of a godless frantic pace.
And in that time of glory and easeful stride I am able to catch my breath and whisper, "Thank you, Jesus."
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Timothy Willard loves to sit with his wife by the bonfire and make up stories about Tom the Backyard-Badger for his three lovely daughters. When he's not carving up the Appalachian Mountains on his Salsa El Mariachi, you can find him busy writing a book, collaborating on a book, or reading a book written by someone dead and gone. Timothy studied beauty in the works of C.S. Lewis under theologian Alister McGrath. The author of five books, including Veneer: Living Deeply in a Surface Society (Zondervan), Timothy is currently finishing The Life-Changing Adventure of Chasing Beauty (Eerdmans, 2019), preparing his doctoral thesis for publication, and trying to find a publisher for his first novel The Tempest and the Bloom. He lives somewhere in the south Charlotte woods.