How does it feel . . . to be without a home . . . like a rolling stone? (Bob Dylan, Poet Extraordinaire)
I recently watched a program that discussed the moving stones in Death Valley California. I had never heard of this phenomenon before. It was a fascinating discussion. Scientist offered differing opinions as to how these rocks move across the desert floor. Many of the ideas were debunked by still more scientists.
Toward the end, it seems the one idea that was offered that was deemed acceptable by the others was . . . well, not something you might expect in Death Valley. The consensus was the cause of these moving monoliths was none other than . . . ice! The program informed the audience that Death Valley has freezing temps for about 50 nights per year.
So, you get some rainfall and then freezing temps and viola, you have ice! The ice then forms to the rocks, causing them to have a degree of buoyancy and as the ice around melts, it remains frozen to the underside of the rock. This nice icy bottom, being slick, is ready for a good gust of wind to sweep through and send it for a ride.
Plausible enough I suppose. As I said earlier, other explanations were proffered, everything from magnetic fields and forces to elaborate hoaxes to UFO’s and alien involvement.
Adding to the monolithic mystery is the fact that, not only do they move, but no one has ever actually seen them move. It certainly hasn’t been from a lack of trying.
I like the mystery of it all. I think mystery enriches our lives and stretches our sensibilities and broadens our horizons. Whether it’s the moving rocks of Death Valley or the great pyramids or the giant geoglyphs in South America or Donald Trump’s toupee (okay, maybe not!), these things inspire us, awe us, confound us and stump us. They add a certain level of complexity and complication to this thing called life. Life which can sometimes seem to be so mundane and average and usual.
I thank God for mystery. I’m thankful that we don’t have it all figured out. I think God must smile (or smirk!) sometimes as he watches us running around trying to answer every question, trying to solve every problem, trying to deduce every truth down to some easily digestible morsel.
I think God has intentionally placed the mysterious right in the midst of our boredom and laborious, repetitive, mind-numbing routines. It is a way to wake us and to grab our attention, if only for a few moments, until we are zombified again.
Paul says in Colossians 4.3, “At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ . . .” Earlier Paul had taught it was a “mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints.” In another letter Paul stated, “But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God decreed before the ages for our glory.” (1 Cor. 2.7)
This mystery, this secret and hidden wisdom of God is not something unattainable. It is not something which cannot be grasped and experienced. Paul makes this exact point. It has now been proclaimed boldly through the testimony and ministry of the apostles. It is the mystery which profounds the worldly and seems ridiculous to those who do not believe.
The mystery, now revealed, of the love and grace of God sending his one and only Son to save us from sin, from ourselves. And in that mystery there is still mystery. In that mystery that has been revealed and proclaimed is the mystery of the grace and purpose of God, choosing to bestow upon all who believe his love and grace and favor.
Amazing grace! Amazing mystery!