We don’t use the word “mystic” much in contemporary Christianity. I think a major reason is that “mystical” brings to mind long flights of emotion, even ecstasy, or getting lost in a spiritual moment, kind of like my experience when the Pittsburgh Steelers won the Super Bowl a few years ago, all except for the spiritual aspect.
OK, back to real mysticism. (You mean football isn’t a religion?) How about trying the Lora Zill definition: getting lost in the presence of God. How do you describe that experience to others, or better yet, to yourself? What kind of words do you use?
Sometimes we have an almost mystical experience when we encounter nature, such as when we see a multicolored sunset or a double rainbow, perhaps, and try to capture and describe our feelings by using the words “awesome,” “cool,” or “beautiful.”
But somehow those words seem totally inadequate when describing an encounter with God. I don’t know that I have an answer, really, because I, too, grasp at straws sometimes even while writing this blog. And I’m not trying to describe a mystical experience, just my own walking on this earth, with some “God” thrown in.
Speaking of mystical and mystics, you’re probably wondering about Evelyn Underhill since I led off with her name. She was a 20th century mystic that I have just recently come to know through her book, The Spiritual Life. A friend “just thought” I would like her. If you call stopping my reading every few pages so I wipe tears from my eyes “liking her”, I guess I did.
So, let this blog serve as a brief introduction to Evelyn Underhill and mystical language. I’ll be sharing more in the next few weeks, so stay tuned. Looks like the 2013-14 football season won’t lead to mystical experiences for Steeler fans, alas, so I’ll have to “settle” for mystical encounters with God.