Sermon quotes on mystery

Craig Barnes

God is often silent when we prefer that he speak, and he interrupts us when we prefer that he stay silent. His ways are not our ways. To live with the sacred God of creation means that we conduct our lives with a God who does not explain himself to us. It means that we worship a God who is often mysterious – too mysterious to fit our formulas for better living. It means that God is not our best friend, our secret lover or our good-luck charm. He is God.

James Boice

God’s self-existence means that he is not answerable to us or to anybody. Although He sometimes explains things to us, he does not have to and often he does not. God does not have to explain himself to anybody.

John Calvin

Man with all his shrewdness is as stupid about understanding by himself the mysteries of God, as an ass is incapable of understanding musical harmony.

G.K. Chesterton

The secret of God is a bright and not a sad one.

Introduction to the Book of Job

G.K Chesterton

As long as you have mystery you have health; when you destroy mystery you create morbidity.


Mike Cosper

The cynic won’t be fooled by your snake oil, but their posture also prevents them from being wowed by the transcendent or moved by anything beautiful. They live in a cold universe, a world without mystery or wonder.

Taken from Recapturing the Wonder: Transcendent Faith in a Disenchanted World by Mike Cosper. Copyright (c) 2017, p.12. Published by InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL. www.ivpress.com

Mike Cosper

When we are regularly shamed away from thoughts that venture near spirituality and transcendence, we learn to avoid it altogether, even in our thoughts. We develop a resistance to thoughts that would carry us outside of the world of the visible, measurable, or scientifically verifiable.

Taken from Recapturing the Wonder: Transcendent Faith in a Disenchanted World by Mike Cosper. Copyright (c) 2017, p.12. Published by InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL. www.ivpress.com

Mike Cosper

Our clawing, grasping attempts at answering every question and making sense of every mystery in life will end up in failure. Instead, God invites us to take a tour of the mad, mad world around us, to see ourselves as one mystery among the many, and to trust him that it all makes sense in some strange, cosmic way. In doing so, we discover that

Taken from Recapturing the Wonder: Transcendent Faith in a Disenchanted World by Mike Cosper. Copyright (c) 2017, p.12. Published by InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL. www.ivpress.com

William Cowper

God moves in a mysterious way, 

His wonders to perform. 

He plants his footsteps in the sea, 

and rides upon the storm.

Hymn: Light Shining Out of Darkness, 1779.

Fyodor Dostoevsky

Every blade of grass, every insect, ant, and golden bee, all so amazingly know their path, though they have not intelligence, they bear witness to the mystery of God and continually accomplish it themselves.

George Herbert

Thou hast but two rare cabinets full of treasure,

The Trinity, and Incarnation:

Thou hast unlockt them both,

And made them jewels to betroth

The work of thy creation

Unto thy self in everlasting pleasure.

Poem: “Ungratefulness,” The Temple.

Basil Hume

Our age dislikes intensely the idea of mystery because it directly exposes our limitations. The thought that there could be something, or someone, beyond human comprehension or imagining is, of course, exciting, but it is also belittling. It puts us in our place and that place is not at the centre.

Hildegard of Bingen

It is easier to gaze into the sun, than into the face of the mystery of God. Such is its beauty and its radiance.

Bill Johnson

He is either greater than we can understand, perceive, describe, or imagine, or He is not God—we are.

Thomas a Kempis

Faith is required of thee, and a sincere life, not loftiness of intellect, nor deepness in the mysteries of God.

Anne Lamott

The first holy truth in God 101 is that men and women of true faith have always had to accept the mystery of God’s identity and love and ways. I hate that, but it’s the truth.

Jason Lee

In antiquity, the Greek word μυστήριον could mean “something secret” or “hidden,” or a “secret rite” of initiation.Mystery terminology was operative in philosophy, asin the works of Plato. Only those who have undergone specific philosophical training have access to certain kinds of knowledge. While it was once common to interpret early Christianity in terms of Greco-Roman mysteries and to understand many of its concepts as borrowed from them, a better recognition of the differences between pagan and Christian mysteries, along with a greater appreciation of the Jewish context of Christianity, has rightly placed a limit on such an approach.

Augustine and the Mystery of the Church, Augsburg Fortress Publishers, 2017.

Thomas Merton

To find love I must enter into the sanctuary where it is hidden, which is the mystery of God.

New Seeds of Contemplation, New Directions Publishing, 2007, p.61.

Reinhold Niebuhr

A genuine faith resolves the mystery of life by the mystery of God.

Henri J.M. Nouwen

Contradictions can bring us into touch with a deeper longing, for the fulfillment of a desire that lives beneath all desires and that only God can satisfy. Contradictions, thus understood, create the friction that can help us move toward God.

Hans Urs von Balthasar

Man is the creature with a mystery in his heart that is bigger than himself.

Prayer (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1986), p.23.

Hans Urs von Balthasar

There is much in Christianity which can be subjected to exact analysis. But the ultimate things are shrouded in the silent mysteries of God.

Prayer, Ignatius Press, 2016, p.101.

Kallistos Ware

It is not the task of Christianity to provide easy answers to every question, but to make us progressively aware of a mystery. God is not so much the object of our knowledge as the cause of wonder.

The Orthodox Way

Rainer Maria Rilke

Things aren’t all so tangible and sayable as people would usually have us believe; most experiences are unsayable, they happen in a space that no word has ever entered, and more unsayable than all other things are works of art, those mysterious existences, who life endures beside our own small, transitory life.

Letters to a Young Poet, trans. Stephen Mitchell (New York: Modern Library, 2001), p.4.

Pope Leo The Great

Christianity is a religion founded on the mystery of the cross of Christ.

Tish Harrison Warren

After the Enlightenment in the West, our collective imagination emptied the cosmos of supernatural life, as sure as industry emptied Cape Cod of cod.

Taken from Prayer in the Night: For Those Who Work or Watch or Weep by Tish Harrison Warren Copyright (c) 2021 by Tish Harrison Warren. Published by InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL. www.ivpress.com

Frank Herbert

“The mystery of life isn’t a problem to solve, but a reality to experience.”

Dune (New York: Penguin, 2019), 38.

Liuan Huska

Being fully human is to inhabit the wild mysteries of our bodies and trust that, because Christ was a body, and still is a body, we don’t need to fear this place. We can say, it is good, because Christ meets us here.

Taken from Hurting Yet Whole: Reconciling Body and Spirit in Chronic Pain and Illness by Liuan Huska. Copyright (c) 2020 by Liuan Huska. Published by InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL. www.ivpress.com.

Robert Farrar Capon

In the Bible, this [The Mystery of Christ] concept is referred to not only as the mystery of Christ, but also as the mystery of God (or of God’s will), the mystery of the kingdom, and the mystery of the gospel. In all cases, though, it refers to something hidden (my- is the root of the Greek verb myein: “to be shut,” or “closed”). At the risk of leaving you more mystified than you would like to be, however, I shall add only one comment here: whatever else this Mystery of Christ may be, it is something hidden in this world—in the physical universe. It is not some “mystical” truth parked way off in “heaven” or in some other realm of “spiritual reality.”

The Mystery of Christ & Why We Don’t Get It, Eerdmans Publishing Co, 1993.

Winston Churchill

Russia is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma. [editor’s note: this is a great analogy for some of the great mysteries of Christian theology, i.e. the trinity, the hypostatic union (Jesus fully human and divine) etc.]

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