Lord, Who are you?
There is a mystery to God that we will never be able to fully comprehend. The ancient mystics called this mystery “mysterium tramendum”, or the overwhelming mystery of God. There was something about this God, who was far off; yet infinitely close. Who seemed to be unapproachable, yet was open. From the beginning of time until now, people from all walks of life have dedicated their lives to the search and prodding of this mystery, and in some ways they have come to know this mystery. But there is something that’s amiss from it all. Something that is missing. We see this amiss in the religions of the world today. All religions are reaching out for this divine mystery, trying to come to know who, or just what this presence is. But this God remains a mystery. This mystery has been known and is known by many names, but their is a name that this mystery is revealed in. The true name of this mystery was revealed to a group of nomadic desert dwellers many years ago. The mystery’s name was Yahweh.
Yahweh was the great divine presence that the people of Israel had come in contact with. They were a people reaching out, but something unique happened; God reached down. But just who was this no body from nowhere people? Who was this people that God revealed Himself to? This people had no real home, they had no real unity, and throughout scripture we see just how shocking it is that God would use a people such as them. They failed, they rebelled, and they struggled. But the God of the universe revealed himself to them and used them to show his love to the world. Israel was a very unlikely candidate, but God revealed himself to them.
Now here is some truth, I can identify with Israel. I can identify with Abram. I can identify with Moses. I can identify with David. Not in their victories, but in their weak moments. Why would God choose to reveal himself to someone so unworthy such as me? Why would God reveal himself to such an unlikely candidate as Israel? Why would God make himself known? The only explanation I can come up with is this; love. God’s love is the great mystery.
Scripture is the story of God. It is a story about events and circumstances retold through the lens of people who knew a God who had revealed himself. Scripture is the story of the struggle of people to live up to their calling, and is a story of the failure and success of this people. Scripture is the story of a loving God who continued to remain close to His creation. But there was a problem. God was divine. There was only so much that God could show the world, could show Israel. Something had to happen. Something had to change, and it did.
Christianity has a truth that we hold to, that we protect, that binds us all together. It is a truth that if lost or neglected would mean a “religion” that is really no more than a system of values and good teachings. This truth, this amazing event that separates us from all other faith-based groups is this; God became flesh. God out of pure love for all of creation revealed himself fully in His son Jesus Christ. God sent the ultimate act of love. No longer would this divine presence just be that, a presence; but now God would come and live amongst creation. God would now be as close as to us as our own breath. Jesus became our connection to the divine. God became approachable, real, and infinitely near. It is through Christ that God was and is revealed.
So again I ask, Lord…who are you? This is a question we find ourselves asking when we are at the end of our plans, when we come to a fork in the road or when we do not know which way to turn. But here is the greatest truth we need to come to grips with, God is infinitely near. The mystics called it the divine mystery, John Wesley called it prevenient grace, and scholars today refer to it as panentheism. God is in all things. God is calling all people. God is always and completely near. God is love and when we call on God, he is near. Before we call on God, he is near. It is out of love that when we come to a point where we may question God’s activity or question his proximity, that when it seems he is silent; God will reply with an overwhelming and resounding filling and feeling of his presence.
Mystery. God is a mystery. His love is the mystery. When we think He is not near, He is. When we feel we are unwanted and not worth loving, God loves us. When we feel dead inside, God resurrects. God is a mystery, and it is a mystery that we need to embrace and seek after. Because in seeking this mystery, we will find that the God we were holding onto really was no more than an Idol. The God behind this great mystery, this great love, is one who is just waiting for his people, his creation to realize there is more depth to Him then what we know. We do not need to fear when our faith takes us beyond our knowing. Because at the edge of our understanding, is a God who is waiting to show us the depths of His love and lead us to an ever-increasing appreciation of His complexity. So when we ask,”Lord, who are you?” We can know that God will respond with this, “Come and let me show you.” Embrace this mystery and let it lead you deeper into a relationship with the author of life, with the source of all love, and into a new stage in your faith.