Bread – Mysteries

June 4, 2012


Readings for Monday, June 4 designated by the 1979 Book of Common Prayer: Eccles. 2:1-15; Gal. 1:1-17; Matt. 13:44-52; Psalms 41. 44. 52

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There are mysteries we can solve and mysteries we cannot. We love the mysteries we can solve and admire the people who can solve mysteries for us. We run away from mysteries we cannot solve because it reminds us that we are not the kings of the universe and can neither know nor do everything.

Today’s readings present us a whole slew of mysteries.

Solomon starts us off with his recitation in Ecclesiastes where he describes his achievements and then acknowledges that they are all will-o-the-wisp, that they are all vanity. Listen to his recitation and ask yourself, “Isn’t this what the world promises us as the good life?” – (1) He enjoyed himself with drink (Eccles. 2:3); (2) he built houses and businesses (vineyards; Eccles. 2:4), (3) he beautified his life with pleasant surroundings (waters, gardens, and parks; Eccles. 2:5), (4) he acquired a lot of stuff (Eccles. 2:7), (5) he banked a lot of money to live on and for retirement (Eccles. 2:8), (6) he became highly educated (Eccles. 2:9), and (6) he was a patron of the arts (singers, Eccles. 2:8). We work hard and we acquire and we are happy. That is the world’s formula. Even Solomon says “…my heart found pleasure in all my toil, and this [the list previously in this paragraph] was my reward for all my toil.” Eccles. 2:10. However, he realized that “all was vanity and striving after wind.” Eccles. 2:11. There was a great mystery in the world’s way – it doesn’t work. This mystery is solved by taking what God gives us thankfully (see Eccles. 3:9-15).

Paul continues in our reading today from Galatians complaining that the Galatians were listening to false teachers, changing the gift of salvation through Christ by the grace of God into a salvation earned by man, what many have called a salvation of works. Paul is very clear that a salvation achieved by earning it (man’s way) is not God’s way, saying “the gospel that was preached by me [Paul] is not man’s gospel.” Gal. 1:11. Man would create a mystery out of religion, creating obligations for us to perform which may never be good enough, smart enough, fast enough, or effective enough. This mystery is solved when God gives us the power through His grace to have faith, to have a relationship with Jesus Christ, and through Jesus Christ have a relationship with the entirety of God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit).

Mysteries. None of the big ones are solvable by man, because we are not God. All of the big ones have been solved by God, if we have eyes to see and ears to hear.

Come Holy Spirit. Today, tear the veil from our eyes and remove the ear plugs, that we may fully live out the world’s mysteries in God’s truth, power, and love. Amen.

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