Participating in a mystery

Reconciliation is the central theme of God’s history in dealing with the human race. The short of it is: God created human beings in His image and birthed them into a harmonious world. For reasons we can only speculate, He allowed evil to enter into this idyllic world and separate human beings from Himself and each other. This has obviously had disastrous results, but, nonetheless, the rest of the story is the process of reconciling what has been separated.

In Ephesians 1:9 it says, “And he [God] made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times have reached their fulfillment — to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.”

That would mean that whenever we work to overcome some difference or repair a breech in a relationship, we are participating in a mystery. To reconcile a relationship is to act according to the mystery of God’s will. Don’t you want to be a part of that?

That means Christians need to be “uniters,” not dividers.

For years, Christians have prided themselves in being dividers – so much so that we have made up reasons to be different from everyone else and called that difference: holiness. Being different is not necessarily holy, especially when the difference consists of erected cultural taboos and behavioral requirements with no real biblical or moral grounding. The walls that exist between Christians and non-Christians today are largely of our own making.

Our bent needs to be on reconciliation – finding what we have in common with others, not creating reasons to separate. If you find yourself judging anyone, stop and focus instead on what you have in common with that person. If the mystery of God’s will is to bring all things in heaven and on earth together in Christ, then we want to be working along with that will, not against it.

And especially at this time of year, think about how God brought everything in heaven and earth together in a baby in a manger. Now that’s a mystery!

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2 Responses to Participating in a mystery

  1. Kathy Willis says:

    Here’s the way I see it as a non-Christian. I perceive most Christians operate as CLOSED societies. I don’t think I’m alone in that perception…And it’s not just Christians that have closed societies either. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have people of all beliefs and faiths to honor and respect each other by being open and accepting of one another? Can you imagine how enriched we would all be? Isn’t it the hope of most peoples to have peace on earth? The message I’m getting in today’s Catch is that you are trying to get us to open our eyes and embrace the differences between people – in effect – become an open society where all are welcome.

  2. Laura Fissinger says:

    John, this is one of the most true Christmas-centered pieces I’ve ever read…as in “true to the reason of the season”. I think the proof of its success lies directly above my entry, in the
    post by Kathy Willis. At my church (Fifth Avenue Presbytherian in New York City), the line
    that always appears with the name, on the Sunday bulletins and outside, on the building’s
    exteriors, is “This Is God’s house. All are welcome.” We strive always to mean it — because Jesus does.

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