Mystery and Faith

What do you understand by the word mystery? Over the last century it has been used to describe a particular form of novel. In for example the stories of Agatha Christie a crime is committed, the solution to which is only revealed on the last page. There is always an explanation; the pleasure for the reader is in arriving at the solution before the author reveals it.


Centuries before, people were being entertained by Mystery Plays illustrating Bible stories in Cities such as York, Coventry and Chester. Here the word mystery was being used in the sense of the miraculous. The events described, the miracles of Jesus; his Resurrection; his appearances to the Disciples were shown as being beyond human understanding; the mystery remained.

The human desire to understand everything in the world around us is very natural, children after all learn by asking those two essential questions “how “and “why.” But can we expect to understand everything, will there be no mysteries left? The remarkable development in scientific knowledge in the last two centuries would seem to indicate we can and will. Development in theological understanding has also made remarkable progress. Christians have to understand for example that slavery is wrong and that there should be no barriers based on either race or gender.


But Christians also have to their lives in faith, because mysteries still remain, the resurrection of Jesus and his promise to us of eternal life remain mysteries. We have to live in faith, in the hope that eventually all will be revealed to us; as Saint Paul writes ”For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face.”


Paul Duckers