Friday, November 4, 2011

Elements of Community - Mystery

Let me begin with a confession. I have a tough time saying "I don't know." When posed with a Why?, I feel as if it is my moral obligation to respond to it. I've even been know to throw in a "They say..." to justify my point, simply because it seems to lend credibility to my argument. I am enfatuated with reasons, motives and consistency therein. Give me cogent explanations of life that dovetail into a practical, if not empirical, worldview, and I'll feel a certain buzz.

Now, the problem with people like me is our quiet aversion to the concept of mystery. Our tendency is to try to mitigate or minimize it through our explanations. If we're honest, we villify mystery as something akin to ambiguity. Yet for all my attempts to explain mystery away, life in community beckons me to embrace it. The degree to which we have been united with God and each other and the manner through which this unity was achieved are nothing less than surreal. Words about such truths are not intended to fence in these realities but to give way to wonder. Mystery allows the more subtle, yet most significant, truths to come to life. It also protects us from trivializing the idea of just being together. We escape the wrong-headed mentality that we are what we do and begin to find wonder in that which we are accustomed to overlook. (See Job 26:14, Eph 5:32)

I see mystery in the way God brought the five of us together. People constantly ask how a pasty, white American, a seminarian from the Northeast, two orphans from Sao Goncalo and a girl from Ipanema (or Rio at the very least) ended up under the same roof. We fumble for answers, but there is something inexplicably divine to our bond. There is also this pervasive sense of mystery in discussing the future of the guys. They, just like us, sense they are a part of something special and are being prepared for the same. Then, there are the nights we worship together. Since none of us play an instrument, we'll find songs on YouTube and sing along. But, those nights are much bigger than five people (at least one of which being tone deaf) huddled around a computer screen. Finally, I am reminded of all the moments of silence where we are just with each other. There is no compulsion to fill the space with nervous conversation. The silence is not perceived as a threat or a void. There is just us, and that doesn't demand an excuse or a reason.    

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