Open Wide and Say “Awe!”

psalm 104

Today’s readings (click below to open in new tab/window):
Psalms 104; 149, Numbers 13:31-14:25, Romans 3:9-20, Matthew 19:1-12


A sense of awe is a natural reaction to the miracle of creation. Non-theists, especially those involved in the sciences, frequently cite a sense of wonder as central to their spirituality. People of faith, like the author of Psalm 104, attribute the beauty and complexity of the universe to the divine purpose behind it all. People who find time spent in nature helps them feel closer to God are attuned to this sense of wonder. If we spend a lot of time studying scripture and trying to wrap our brains around God, we may find it more difficult – or frivolous – to appreciate unexamined awe. Yet this is a legitimate way of apprehending God. As we seek to deepen our relationship with God, let’s take an occasional break from “head” space to dwell in “heart” space where that sense of awe can reach us best.

Busy people may need to intentionally slow down to notice everyday wonders. Do we ever think of the sky as being stretched out as the tent of God’s dwelling place, or of the winds as God’s messengers? These poetic images do not need to be literal to reveal truth to us. The psalmist finds wonder in springs gushing forth to satisfy every wild animal, in food springing from the earth, in trees and mountains, darkness and light, predator and prey. If we ever have trouble feeling our connection to a sense of wonder, Psalm 104 is an amazing resource for reestablishing it.

Let’s commit to being aware of the sources of awe in our own lives. The diverse beauty of a garden or a wild meadow. The complexity of our own bodies, even when they can no longer serve us well. The grace of hundreds of birds swooping in unison. The power of a storm extending farther than we can comprehend. Awe can inspire and terrify us at the same time. What it cannot be is analyzed, for then it ceases to be awe. Let us simply dwell in the presence of the Lord and for a while let awe crowd out everything else. It blesses a soul.

Comfort: Faith isn’t just about what you can figure out. Maybe it never is.

Challenge: At least once a week, find some time to simply be – t0 be in the presence of God without expectation and open to possibility.

Prayer: God of all creation, thank you for the beauty that surrounds me. Even on the days I can’t see it, maybe especially on those days, humble me with your wonder. Amen.

Discussion: Where or how do you find it easiest to experience God?

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