“The hidden things belong to the Lord our God, but the revealed things belong to us and to our children forever.”
I Corinthians 4:1-5
Think of us in this way, as servants of Christ and stewards of God’s mysteries. 2 Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy. 3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. I do not even judge myself. 4 I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. 5 Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive commendation from God.
Many church scholars believe that there are two underlying impulses to the spiritual life: the desire for certainty and the desire for mystery. Obviously these two desires are headed in opposite directions and explain why we have such a diverse collection of churches and beliefs within the Body of Christ. This Sunday we are definitely exploring the mystery option as we look at the hidden things of God. There is so much about God, our life, and our faith that remains hidden. How do we move forward with so few answers?
Today is also All Saints’ Day. Originally, Christians observed All Saints’ Day on May 13th. So why the change? And why was Christmas placed on December 25th to correspond with the pagan celebration of the winter solstice? We should say “to compete with the pagan celebration.” As the early Christians moved into more and more lands, they wanted to provide competing alternatives to the pagan faiths and thus major holy days were moved.
In the mountains of Guatemala, there is a beautiful town named Chichicastenango. On the town square there are two interesting sights. First is the mother of all outdoor markets. The hundreds of stalls offering merchandise is astounding. Secondly, you will frequently see Mayan priests celebrating their rituals on the steps of the large Catholic Cathedral. Why are they permitted to do this? Because when the church arrived in Guatemala, it deliberately built cathedrals on top of Mayan holy sites, a strategy related to moving Christian feasts to prominent pagan holy days.
Frequently, when we ignore the hidden things of God and focus on visible things (holy places, holy days, liturgical colors, and exact rituals) we shut ourselves off from communion with the Creator of the Universe, who is so much greater than our perceptions or imaginations. Join with us for a service of mystery, holy communion, healing, and celebration of those now in the church triumphant.