For the 3rd year in a row we will be presenting our Murder Mystery Theater on February 8 and 9, 6 p.m. This year’s feature, “No Body To Murder”, promises to be fun and funny. I know the cast has been having a great time preparing to present it.
One of the enjoyable things about a Mystery Theater is that the audience has an opportunity to figure the mystery out at the end and prizes are awarded to those who solve the mystery. So technically, while the play is a mystery before the show begins, it’s not a mystery by the time people leave. It’s only a temporary mystery that quickly gets resolved, so those present can pack up and go home satisfied.
It’s too bad every mystery doesn’t get solved this fast. Currently science is full of mysteries that scientists have been struggling to understand for decades. What is “dark matter,” and how can quantum physics and general relativity be unified are just a couple of the big ones. And if we’re honest, most of us live lives full of unanswered questions; mysteries that always elude our understanding even when we fool ourselves into believing we have them figured out. The more I think I understand people, the more they prove far more complicated and interesting than I imagined.
This is unfortunate, since most people, including myself, have a strong distaste for unanswered questions. I want to know if flying saucers are real, big foot exists, and what happened to Amelia Earhart. Mysteries creates a tension that we naturally seek to resolve with answers, and this is where faith often steps in. People think of faith as that cure-all that eliminates the mysteries around us so we can live our lives secure in our certainty. But this isn’t exactly the case. As 1 Timothy 3:16 reminds us, mystery is also part of faith itself.
Without any doubt, the mystery of our religion is great: He was revealed in flesh, vindicated in spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among Gentiles, believed in throughout the world, taken up in glory. (1 Timothy 3:16 NRSV)
The phrase “mystery of our religion” doesn’t get thrown around much these days, maybe because we want a religion free from mystery. But in fact, our religion is something of a mystery. This means that we never have everything – including the Bible, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, or God himself – wholly figured out. Christianity is a mystery that encourages us to grow in our knowledge and understanding, but it’s always bigger than what we know and understand. And a real faith doesn’t eliminate the mysteries of life, it equips us to live joyfully in the face of those mysteries.
Life itself is a bit like a murder mystery theater, and we’re participating, trying to understand. But that understanding will never be complete until we take our final bow and the curtain closes.
What faith does is enable us to live our lives fully and well until that time. “Without a doubt, the mystery of our religion is great”