Paul, the apostle, was an amazing teacher.  His writings have a great gap between the most profound mysteries of the faith and the most simplistic and practice advice.  Each of the letters he wrote to the church or individuals began with a high theological thesis.  His letter to the Ephesians chapter one speaks of the Father’s love and grace, “Because of his love, God had already decided to make us his own children through Jesus Christ.  That was what he wanted and what pleased him, and it brings praise to God because of His wonderful grace.  God gave that grace to us freely, in Christ, the One he loves.”

Such wonderful, poetic lyrics have been inspired fodder for Bible scholars for almost 2,000 years.  However, by the end of his letter Paul is saying, “Children, obey your parents as the Lord wants, because this is the right thing to do.”

As much as we marvel at the amazing secrets exposed in Paul’s writing, most of us need day-to-day simple direction on how to pray for our children.  We wrestle with what our reaction should be when the washing machine vomits all over the laundry room.  What is the Christ-like response to the swishing traffic when the car stages a revolt stalling in the middle of a snarled intersection?

While some of the members of Special Gathering, who are mentally challenged, obviously grasp the mysteries of Christ.  Because of their intellectual abilities, it is with a simplistic understanding.  Yet, I’ve observed that many people who are developmentally delayed live out the simple directive with uncomplicated faithful living. 

Perhaps it is in the simple living that we truly uncover the mystery.  Doesn’t “love your neighbor” automatically translate into a deep understanding that God love me no matter what my actions or reactions of the moment may be.  Patty is a servant to everyone.  She pushes the wheelchairs.  She brings the cookies.  She carries the equipment.  While her understanding of the complicated truths of the scripture seems barely a surfacing sip from the deepest of ponds, my faith is deepen by watching her unselfish labors of love toward her peers.  When Steve delights because someone else is getting the solo that he thought he would singing, there is a demonstration of God’s love flowing through an individual as he is emptying his life to prefer another person.

Perhaps part of the mystery of Paul’s letters is this:  He gives the mysterious principles of the faith allowing us to see how unobtainable it is without the grace of God.  Then he gives us the step by step process in the final paragraphs of his letters which reveal how to truly live out the glorious faith that he has described to us.

Mysteries and secrets are part of Paul’s teaching.  Could part of the uncovering of these secret be the  step-by-step dying to ourselves as we daily prefer and serve others As I rub elbows with the mentally challenged community, I’ve come to believe that practical, simple acts of love is the key that unlocks the secrets of Christian faith.