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Things Known and Unknown

The prayers of confession often include the plea for forgiveness for things “done and left undone.” The Psalmists often asks God to search their heart and to “cleanse me from my secret faults.”

These prayers point us towards one of the strange things about being human beings: there are things going on in  us that we do not always fully understand. As a man of my personality type and work I often say that I do not know how I feel about anything until later, and about somethings I don’t know for a long time how I feel.

So it is no wonder that we can live with a spouse or close friend for decades and some part of them remains a mystery to us. 

No-one is really simple. We enter into relationships, if we know what we are doing, with awe and reverence and humility. This is true not only because we enter into the mystery of another individual, but because we enter into the sanctuary of a life where God is present and at work. 

It is right that we should bow when we approach each other as we do in the liturgy.

As the next few weeks unfold, we enter into new unknown moments where God will be revealed. The Rev. Dr. Perry Pauley joins us Sunday as our new associate priest along with his family. New women are exploring Daughters of the King. Sunday School begins again, just as children and teachers and staffs are entering into new school years.

When we enter new relationships, we enter new mysteries of life. Some of these mysteries we will mark with prayers and liturgies of new beginning. Some are only marked by our private prostrations of awareness.

But all of them should be marked. 

The mystery that lies in front of us about my own calling to be bishop in the Diocese of Upper South Carolina is unknown and unknowable, because it is not just what I hear that matters.  It is what a whole community of the Church hears and discerns together. It is a mystery and a process that includes four other good men and their families, their churches, their own bowing before God. 

Bow down and pray with me for God’s will to be done in all these unknown places where we enter sacred mysteries anew.  

And, remember what we know.  God is at work in this place. We are led by Christ and his Holy Spirit as a community of faith.  We will, whatever happens, come to know Christ more clearly, love him more dearly, and serve him more nearly than ever before. 

In Christ, -daniel+

The Very Rev. Daniel Paul Richards
Christ Church of the Ascension
Paradise Valley, Arizona