A couple of weeks ago, the brilliant T.V. revival, Twin Peaks: The Return, came to a close. The writer and director David Lynch baffled his giddy audience with 18 episodes of near absurdity, robbing nostalgic fans of their desire to return to the past. While Lynch’s goal was certainly to portray the impossibility of “going back” from an existentialists point of view, he also managed to project his observation of the mystery of human existence. As in most of Lynch’s work, especially his later work, mysterious forces and actors caused events to occur. A strange looking woman makes a phone call in Buenos Aires. A giant in another dimension watches a movie screen, a women’s head is found next to man’s decapitated body. Lynch portrays clear good and evil, pure joy and pure misery, but cause and effect seems arbitrary and ridiculous.
While Lynch might not be everyone’s cup of tea, he certainly paints a world that many of our neighbors can relate to: a strange place governed by inexplicable entities, causes and forces. Why did my friend get hit by a drunk driver? How was I born into a good family but so and so was not? Why do good things, bad things happen? For many people their lives feel as if they are ruled by complete randomness.
No matter how much our culture claims to be ruled by science, we are no less superstitious than any other period in human history. Recently at the bedside of an old saint who died I heard people immediately talk about supernatural signs of his passing shared by his loved ones; a leaf fell, a crow crowed, etc. Make no mistake, many people feel like pawns in some cosmic mystery.
Unveiling this mystery may very well be the main task of our Lord through His people! Paul refers to this many times. As in Colossians, chapter one he writes, “of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints.” (Colossians 1:25,26)
That mystery is mainly this: God loves sinners! Jesus died and rose for all mankind so that they may know and enjoy forgiveness and the resurrection!
While we might not know exactly why things happen when they do, that’s ok! And we might not know the details of everything God does, but we do know His will! Knowing this makes the details unimportant. His Son nailed to a cross, and the empty tomb reveals enough! Sins have been paid. Death has been conquered. Christ is coming again.
So often church bodies and pastors like to respond to people’s shock at events by pointing to the mysterious nature of God. Sometimes this must be said. For surely there are some who like to pretend to know what’s going on like a pagan priest throwing entrails out to determine whether it’s a good day to die. But the church ultimately has been given the task of revealing the mystery of God: Is God for me? To that we can speak plain as day! We can throw away all mysterious talk and proclaim God on a cross and Jesus showing His resurrected body to doubters.
These are no longer the days of mystery and superstition, but these are the days of God’s will revealed and clear! The universe is not absurd, ran by a distant God and arbitrary forces. God has made Himself quite known in Jesus!
“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.” (Colossians 1:15-20)