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I've always been a fan of mysteries. As a kid, I raced through Agatha Christie and Tony Hillerman and Sue Grafton. We even did those jigsaw puzzles where you could solve the mystery by the image the assembled puzzle created. Later in life, I became intrigued by mysteries that weren't so neat and tidy, problems that could be solved with one good interrogation, one good detective. I learned that "mystery," in the dictionary, begins with a series of definitions related to religious faith: "a religious truth that one can know only by revelation and cannot fully understand." Pretty different from Agatha Christie.

I was reminded of this dictionary definition of mystery recently, when a friend pointed out Ephesians 6:19: "Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel..." I was struck by two points. One, that Paul understands that "the gospel" is mysterious, not to be pinned down or understood without divine revelation. It isn't to be contained by human formulas or creeds or hymns, but somehow experienced. And even from this preacher or preachers, the man some call the founder of Christianity, the gospel stays mysterious. It will never be fully grasped or contained or controlled by humans. It will always be told through analogies and parables. And yet, Paul prays that he would fearlessly make known mystery of the gospel. Just because it is mysterious doesn't mean it cannot be proclaimed with confidence.

This unlikely combination–fearlessness and mystery–reminds me to be bold in telling stories that relate the grace of God, and yet to be humbled by the mysterious nature of God's character. I will never be able to diagram the gospel in its entirety, and yet I can proclaim with confidence that God is constantly at work to redeem and restore me, to redeem and restore this world.

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