Make Time for Miracles

 

Nest

Today’s readings (click below to open in new tab/window):
Psalms 104; 149, Proverbs 8:22-36, 3 John 1-15, Matthew 12:15-21


So often our faith is tangled in doctrine, politics, and other distractions. We rely on it in (or find it lacking) in times of difficulty or sadness. The church emphasizes sin, sacrifice, and the cross. When we focus on the glory of resurrection, it is inevitably linked to the suffering that led up to it. These are all realities in our life, but they are not the only realities.

God called the creation good. We are loved enough to be saved. There is beauty all around us but most of our busy lives permit so little time to appreciate it and draw spiritual sustenance from it. Scriptures like Psalm 104 are important because they remind us the story of creation is not all about battling the forces of evil and repenting of our own wickedness; it is also about the marvels God has showered on this world.

When we have the opportunity, we need to take time to simply appreciate the wonders around us. When we are tired or hurting, it strengthens us to understand there is something glorious happening. The seasons themselves are cyclical miracles of rebirth, growth, maturation, and rest. Winter snows melting into spring rivers; summer harvest yielding to autumn abundance; no matter what time of year, we are in the middle of a miracle.

In addition to the seasons, the psalmist writes about the diversity of life, from birds to fish to cattle to trees to flowers. He writes about valleys with rushing rivers, majestic mountains, and lush fields. Day and night and everything they each reveal has a purpose. Between the tiniest creature creeping on the ground and the moon illuminating us from high above, the world is full of beauty that exists because God is good.

This goodness is not always foremost in our minds. When we experience disease, poverty, oppression, or any of a host of ills, it may seem far away, even impossible. Yet it exists alongside us at all times. Finding time to find the good may not solve our problems, but ignoring the good makes God seem all the more distant.

Comfort: You have permission to take time out from everything else to find beauty in the world.

Challenge: Each day this week, write down three beautiful things you have observed.

Prayer: God of Creation, thank you for the wonders all around me. Amen.

Discussion: In places of war or extreme poverty, beauty may seem absent entirely. Can it be found there?

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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?

Join the discussion! If you enjoyed this post, feel free to join an extended discussion as part of the C+C Facebook group. You’ll be notified of new posts through FB, and have the opportunity to share your thoughts with some lovely people.