November 25, 2013

O the mystery of God’s dwelling

By Bob Yoder, campus pastor
THIS WEEK’S THEME: We may walk in God’s paths
THIS WEEK’S SCRIPTURES: Isaiah 2:1-5 (3) | Psalm 122 | Romans 13:11-14 | Matthew 24:36-44

Welcome to Goshen College’s online devotionals for the 2013 Advent season! Our theme this year, taken from the Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Church Canada worship resources found in Leader magazine, is “O the Mystery of God’s Dwelling.” Every Monday an author will introduce the sub-theme, and on the following weekdays authors will reflect on a specific Scripture passage. The theme for this week, Advent 1, is “We may walk in God’s paths.”


“O the mystery of God’s dwelling” expresses a sense of awe and wonder. Will we hold these words as a reverential expression for God’s act of incarnation? Will we mutter them with a sense of frustration and confusion trying to fully make sense of God entering the human world? The Advent Scriptures present us with a plethora of images of judgment, pain, suffering, idolatry and oppression in both the natural and the human worlds, as well as the parallel images of restoration, redemption, salvation, wholeness and peace.

When you consider the literal and metaphorical paths you have walked in life, what comes to mind? I go back to the woods of my childhood farm. There were different paths traversed for various reasons. Some were made by our tractor, others by human feet, and still others by deer that regularly bounded through. Most of the paths were contained within our property boundaries that I knew well. As long as I stayed on them I was sure to circle back to a place of familiarity. But other paths went beyond our property to unknown destinations. What was on the other side? Where would it take me? Were those lands more of the same or different? Should I go there? What will happen if I do?

I have had both joyful surprises and unexpected annoyances on the paths of life. But sometimes the paths I trekked delivered tragic realities for which I wondered if there could have been another way, or why this happened. Like the Psalmist, I questioned and exclaimed, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer; and by night, but find no rest,” (Psalm 22).


O God, wander with me in the paths of life. Help me recognize your presence when mystery is my close companion.



Comments (8)

  1. Dear Pastor Bob,
    i am in thrall at your use of the word “mystery”, redolent of God’s plan for me in all the paths I took in my wanderings – plain, sweet and bitter – leading me home. Thank you. A good start for Advent.

    Mervyn Carapiet November 25, 2013 |
  2. Bob, Good start…thanks.

    Ora Troyer November 25, 2013 |
  3. Thank you, Bob. I look forward to the Advent Devotions each year.

    Elizabeth Yoder November 25, 2013 |
  4. Thank you Pastor Bob. It’s really a great start to choose the path which leads us to God.

    Naveen November 25, 2013 |
  5. Oh, the Mystery of my Close Companion, my Lover!

    Ju November 25, 2013 |
  6. Thanks for this fine devotional, Bob. it is a good start, and I am so pleased you are using the worship resources from Leader as your guide. I do need to encourage you to make one correction, or at least to ask for you to make an addition. The Leader Worship resources are one project which Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Church Canada still produce together. Let’s affirm and proclaim those places where we do.

    Elsie Rempel November 25, 2013 |
    • Thanks Elsie for that correction and suggestion!

      Devotions editor November 25, 2013 |
  7. Hi Bob,
    Thanks your devotional was a great – and lyrical – start to the Advent season. Have you taken this theme any further elsewhere in your writing…its so rich?

    Tony Walsh, Ireland November 25, 2013 |