Mystery & Challenge

“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”

Trinity Sunday, and every pastor is suddenly digging into the Church Fathers, the great theological treatises, and some good old-fashioned bad analogies so they can explain the mystery of God to their congregations. I even witnessed a brother in the clergy ask an entire group: ‘How are you going to approach this Sunday?’

I am thankful, not because I have the answers, but exactly because I do not, nor do I have to try. There is no theology, no treatise I can share that adequately captures the mystery of God: Father, Son, and Spirit. What I can share is the word I will now repeat for the third time: Mystery.

People love to solve mysteries and expend a whole lot of energy trying to do exactly that. They engage in an effort to unlock the secret of God’s self-revelation as Father, Son, and Spirit, and in doing so focus on the wrong mystery. We must ask then, what mystery does God wants us to focus on?

Indeed, God has called us to do something far different. He challenges us to focus on a different mystery, one easily solvable. His challenge is far different than a scientific study of an unfathomable mystery. God calls us to spend our time on the mystery and challenge of love.

I told the brother who asked: Skip the bad analogies and focus on the attributes of God.

You see, people get to know one another through the attributes they see in the other. He or she is good, caring, spends time, is cautious, is deep, likes to share. We get to know people that way. So, it is with God. How do we know His mystery? It is through His attributes and the attribute of the Trinity that has been and is ever before us is the attribute of love.

The mystery of love is God’s challenge to us. When He said: Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you He was not speaking of any other rule, any other thing than love. Teach, show, and welcome in love.

See how God has revealed His love: In creation – particularly that of humanity, saving His people, rescuing them, and finally sending His Son and punishing Him for our sakes, sending the Holy Spirit to be with us. Even though we may ignore His call, He remains with us. He tells us, we have the Son’s inheritance even though we would otherwise be unworthy. All because of God’s attribute of conquering love.

Love’s mystery is the call to give fully for the other. How can we do that? The answer is that we, as God’s children, can do it exactly because God loved us first in Jesus. God showed us all His love. Now we understand the mystery and set out to live the challenge of love.