Let us proclaim the mystery of faith…The words rang out singsong, a little off-key, echoing across the altar, tumbling down the stone steps and the center aisle, awaiting our response.
We sang our prayer back to the priest on cue, our voices monotone with the droning organ: Christ has died. Christ has risen. Christ will come again...
I never thought much about those words, neither the proclamation the priest sang at the altar, nor our answer from the pews. I simply repeated the required lines, yawning and shifting from foot to foot.
Just recently, though, more than 25 years later, I’ve come back to them.
I fill the dishwasher, toss errant sneakers and flip flops into the shoe basket by the door, raise the matchstick blinds over the living room couch, singing the old familiar words as I work.
Let us proclaim the mystery of faith…
My voice rises and falls. I dig deeply, remembering the cadence of the priest’s voice, practicing to match the tone just right as I throw muddy socks and stained tee shirts into the washer, as I dump a basket of warm clothes on the bed, as I butter bagels hot and yeasty from the toaster oven.My kids glance warily at me over their books, leery of the chanting. They're not entirely surprised their mother is acting like a monk, but not entirely comfortable with it either.
I don’t much like mystery. I prefer answers, concrete, black-and-white answers. I like to know the beginning, middle and end…even before I’ve begun -- to know where I am going and exactly how I am going to get there. I would have made a great urban engineer or city planner. Except that I can’t navigate my way out of a one-way alley, even with the GPS lady chastising from the dashboard.
The thing about faith, though, is that very little of it makes sense. At least to me. My kids lob questions at me that I can’t answer. I read about inexplicable tragedies that can’t possibly compute with my understanding of God. I can’t even wrap my mind around the very basic tenets of Christianity, like the resurrection and eternal salvation. It’s all simply beyond me.
It used to really bother me, that there was so little I could know for sure about God and Jesus. But I think I might be beginning to lean into it a little more, to rest more comfortably in the not knowing.
It seems I might finally be ready to proclaim the mystery of faith.
“People who’ve had any genuine spiritual experience always know that they don’t know. They are utterly humbled before mystery. They are in awe before the abyss of it all, in wonder at eternity and depth, and a Love, which is incomprehensible to the mind.”What about you? Do you proclaim the mystery of faith? Or do you fight against it a little bit?
-- Richard Rohr
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