My brother-in-law, a conservative Evangelical, and I have wonderful e-mail discussions of things spiritual, religious and theological. I really treasure our interchanges. We were discussing how one knows that the voice within to which one is listening is the Spirit of God rather than one’s own ego. He used the word “supernatural.” He also used the word, “mystery.”
I like “mystery.” Personally “supernatural” smacks of magic (obviously he does not have this inner association.) Magic is merely the manipulation of unseen powers. Mystery demands surrender.
Today’s Gospel reading is the story of the two men going to Emmaus who meet the risen Jesus on the way. Some would say it’s not the “risen Jesus,” but the “cosmic Christ.” I’m not sure these men experienced it this way. For them it was a man who seemed to know something they yearned to know, and in whom they recognized the Jesus they had lost when he broke the bread and disappeared. It is all rather surrealistic—not supernatural, but mysterious. It demands surrender.
Today I am in meetings in which we will interview candidates for ordination. It’s rather surrealistic, really. Will we discern the risen Christ in these people? I would certainly hope so. Will we know what their future holds? That’s a tougher question, one that edges us toward mystery.
No magic here, no easy fixes, no short-cuts, no fast-tracks. Just surrender.