Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Mystery as a Mystery

"The ancient church mediated on the question of Christ for several centuries. It imprisoned reason in obedience to Jesus Christ, and in harsh, conflicting sentences gave living witness to the mystery of the person of Jesus Christ. It did not give way to the modern pretense that this mystery could only be felt or experienced, for it knew the corruption and self-deception of all human feeling and experience. Nor, of course, did it think that the mystery could be thought out logically, but by being unafraid to express the ultimate conceptual paradoxes, it bore witness to, and glorified, the mystery as a mystery against all reason. The Christology of the ancient church really arose at the cradle of Bethlehem, and the brightness of Christmas lies on its weather-beaten face. Even today, it wins the hearts of all who come to know it. So at Christmas time we should again go to school with the ancient church and seek to understand in worship what it thought and taught, to glorify and to defend belief in Christ. The hard concepts of that time are like stones from which one strikes fire."

~Dietrich Bonhoeffer, excerpt from Letter to the Finkenwalde Brothers Christmas 1939

2 comments:

Jeremy said...

GK Chesterton makes this same point at the end of the first chapter of Orthodoxy, which, if memory serves takes up the theme of paradox & reason and argues for their interrelationship. Bonhoeffer would have known his Chesterton.

elventryst said...

Orthodoxy really does need to be at the top of my list for me to read. I mean, it kind of is, but then I let lesser books edge it out of the way.