The counterproductivity of what I call our attempts to gloss over the things we don't understand in religion--both our own religion and those of others--occurs to me this morning. Such as the supposed immaculate conception of Mary, or any attempt to show that the young Jacob wasn't really what we'd call today an a**hole with brass b***s when he hornswoggled Esau out of both birthright and blessing, or the idea that Jesus wasn't really crucified, to name just three noteworthy examples.
Now that I've offended everybody, I intend to continue doing so--or, rather, to continue with shoot-from-the-hip truth and if anyone's offended, that's their problem. If anyone wants to argue any points--hey, let's get it on! Along with mulling this over, my explanation of the Trinity for those who struggle with it also pops up.
Go to your kitchen faucet and fill the following items with water: a glass, an ice tray, and a teapot. Now put the kettle on, as our cousins say, and put the filled tray in the freezer. Now you have, or shortly will have, three items: water, ice and steam. But the last two items are still molecularly identical to the first--something I hope everyone reading this knows! All three items are still H2O. In the same way but only infinitely more so, Father, Son and Holy Spirit are all the same substance: God.
Now sip from the water in the glass. Then go to the freezer and get some ice cubes and drop them into the glass. Drink again. Chances are the water 'tastes' appreciably better with the ice in it, right? Well, when the Son is in the Father as the ice is in the water and we understand this in our hearts, the water (God) goes down into us all the easier--and yes, I know the Father is in the Son too. After all, the ice is still H2O. Remember?
Maybe some of us don't necessarily want God to 'go down easy' and we all need to watch out for what Dietrich Bonhoeffer called 'cheap grace'. Well, if you feel like the first, that's your right: you can drink your water neat, again as our cousins might say. As to the second, 'cheap grace' is basically the idea that all one has to do is 'sympathize' without actually doing much of anything, and that's not what any religious/spiritual leader has ever preached! No, we all must exercise our spiritual muscles by doing, including asking questions persistently.
And there are many who do ask questions that way and study and pray to find answers. I myself have found that the God I know asks me questions in the way we may remember our favorite teachers (the ones we wished all teachers were like) and for much the same reason: by helping me come to the answers, He makes sure that they will be engraved on my heart and mind. All of us, in every religious community, need to dig for such answers. But my experience has been that relating to God and through Christ is, truly, the express train to God. Not to say there aren't plenty of locals with the same final stop; there are. I think Christ is there especially for those who may not have time n/or the native talent for long study, and also for the least among us as God seeks to draw all Creation to Him from the bottom upwards.
We cannot comprehend how it is Christ can be both the road and the fuel for it, but do we need to? And how much do we know about how our cars work outside of how to drive them, to give an example? Allow me to say that in relation to God, we're a lot more like toddlers at most as opposed to adults as well. And I could also be mistaken about the fuel; that could be the Holy Spirit--not that it matters a whole lot but it makes more sense in light of referring to God as 'Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer'. And indeed invoking God in that way can help many to whom the old formula is a stumbling block.
But back to incomprehensibility: how many of us would worship a God we could fully understand? This much I can say with some confidence: when we see the patterns in the things we can't comprehend they are patterns of love and that is Who God is-- Love to such an extent as we can barely comprehend when we can begin to comprehend it at all. The lesser 'incomprehensibles', such as why did God favor the sly young Jacob over his open and honest brother, have been in a way fuel for the journey as God has led me to at least some answers for such--well, maybe we should call them 'surface incomprehensibles'. The miracles may well fall into that category too.
For some of us (and this highlights the failures of all religion) our world expands when we believe there is no god. For some of us, including myself, faith in God expands the world immeasurably and so it should, and perhaps one day will be, for all of us as we move towards the God of (so far, to us) barely comprehensible Love. But to continue to do so means not glossing over but persistently seeking to understand, in and with our hearts as well as our minds, the surface incomprehensibilities--and let's understand that each of us will seek answers to different questions, too.