Look! Experience Awe

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Bev, standing in a meadow high in the Rocky Mountains, July, 2010

At dinner last night the conversation included some memories of a cross country trip in 2010, when we drove from Los Angeles to Washington, DC.  The amazing reds and oranges of the Utah desert blazed in our minds while we talked. The stunning vistas at the Continental Divide in Colorado filled our thoughts, remembering the meadows of the summer day, the breeze, the wonder of the Rocky Mountains.

Last week I stood at the edge of the vast ocean, looking out at the sun’s reflections dancing across the restless waves, the ceaseless sound of the surf washing over me. What a world God has made for us.

Then, there is the intricacy of our bodies. What a wonder we.  The heart pumps, moving blood through a network that carries nutrients and oxygen to every cell, sweeping away the waste.  Nerves flash signals to our brain, muscles respond. Our eyes take in light and color. And, for most of us, until there is some breakdown, there is virtually no awareness of just what a wonderfully complex organism we are.

Paul says that all this wonder is prime evidence of the existence of God, pulling us towards knowing Him.  “For the truth about God is known to them instinctively. God has put this knowledge in their hearts. From the time the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky and all that God made. They can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse whatsoever for not knowing God. Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. The result was that their minds became dark and confused.” (Romans 1:19-21, NLT)

One of the tragedies of our time is the collision of faith and reason, making these gifts to us into enemies rather than seeing them as complementary. At the end of our understanding, there is mystery. Even as we delve into those mysteries, uncovering the patterns and plans, the design in all of it, we find cause to believe. True science does not destroy faith, it increases it! The universe should fill us with awe, cause us to place our arrogant sense of control to the side and humbly acknowledge that there is Someone, the First Cause, the Designer of it all.

Elizabeth Barret Browning is poetic in her recognition of the failure of awe.
Earth’s crammed with heaven,
   and every common bush aflame with God.
But only those who see take off their shoes;
   the rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.

Have you become like a worker bee, so taken up with the tasks of life, your eyes seeing only your own circumstances, your ears full of the buzz of the small circle that surrounds you?  You need to take a wonder break, a time to look beyond, to think more widely, to allow yourself to experience wonder once again. Wonder will set the stage of our lives for worship. Instead of trying to reduce everything to the small bits that you think you need for understanding and control, let the immensity weigh on you, the mystery envelope you, and surrender to the confession – God is!

C.S. Lewis wrote of his own surrender. A young atheist teaching philosophy and literature, he resisted the idea of the Divine. But, God pursued him. In Surprised By Joy  he says “You must picture me alone in that room in Magdalen, night after night, feeling, whenever my mind lifted even for a second from my work, the steady, unrelenting approach of Him whom I so earnestly desired not to meet. That which I greatly feared had at last come upon me.”

Yes, God does not abandon us and hope that we might somehow find our way to Him. He draws us, paints the wonder of life around us, sometimes squeezes us with discomfort. Why? That we will, at last, allow Him in.  Lewis so poignantly reveals the moment of his conversion to faith. “In the Trinity Term of 1929 I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England. I did not then see what is now the most shining and obvious thing; the Divine humility which will accept a convert even on such terms.”

Look, experience awe! He is there, will we perceive His Presence?

Here is a word from the Word.
“O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens.
From the lips of children and infants
you have ordained praise because of your enemies,
to silence the foe and the avenger.

 When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him,
the son of man that you care for him?

 You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and
crowned him with glory and honor.
You made him ruler over the works of your hands;
you put everything under his feet: all flocks and herds,
and the beasts of the field, the birds of the air,
and the fish of the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas.

 O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!”  (Psalm 8, NIV)

________________

God Of Wonders

(an older song of worship, but still full of truth)

Lord of all creation
Of water earth and sky
The heavens are Your tabernacle
Glory to the Lord on high

 God of wonders beyond our galaxy
You are holy holy
The universe declares Your majesty
You are holy holy
Lord of heaven and earth
Lord of heaven and earth

 Early in the morning
I will celebrate the light
When I stumble in the darkness
I will call Your name by night

 Hallelujah (to the Lord of heaven and earth)
Hallelujah (to the Lord of heaven and earth)
Hallelujah (to the Lord of heaven and earth)
You are holy

 God of wonders beyond our galaxy
You are holy holy
Precious Lord reveal Your heart to me
Father hold me hold me
The universe declares Your majesty
You are holy holy holy holy

 God of wonders beyond our galaxy
You are holy holy
Precious Lord reveal Your heart to me
Father hold me hold me

 Hallelujah (to the Lord of heaven and earth)
Hallelujah (to the Lord of heaven and earth)
Hallelujah (to the Lord of heaven and earth)
Hallelujah (to the Lord of heaven and earth)

Marc Byrd | Steve Hindalong

© 2000 Never Say Never Songs (Admin. by Brentwood-Benson Music Publishing, Inc.)

New Spring (Admin. by Brentwood-Benson Music Publishing, Inc.)

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