Awe and wonder

Pitch deadline: August 3
Article deadline: August 27
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When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them?
You have made them a little lower than the angels
and crowned them with glory and honor.
You made them rulers over the works of your hands;
you put everything under their feet:
all flocks and herds,
and the animals of the wild,
the birds in the sky,
and the fish in the sea,
all that swim the paths of the seas.
Psalm 8:3-8

What is wonder?

Wonder is a feeling of excited amazement and admiration, caused by something beautiful, remarkable, or unfamiliar. It’s a desire to know something; a state of curiosity, surprise, or uncertainty. A rapt attention or astonishment at something awesomely mysterious or new to one’s experience.

As we emerge slowly from the isolation of Covid-19, the Church (and our society at large) is weighted beneath weariness and grief. I don’t know about you, but as I imagine new ways of living and reckon with what needs to change in my life, I need a fresh wave of revival, hope, and healing.

Wonder, astonishment, and awe are forms of refreshment and worship (Philippians 4:8). Wonder can be delightfully healing because it connects us with our embodied selves, our surroundings, and our Creator.

Sources of wonder are all around us. The natural world speaks eloquently of the Lord’s goodness and His value for beauty and life.

Pause for a moment to read “Messengers” by the American poet Mary Oliver. What do you think of her statement that her work is “mostly standing still and learning to be astonished”?

We can also experience wonder through the works of other image-bearers—their music, art, and words can inspire us and spark our imaginations. One piece of art that has inspired wonder in me is Scott Erickson’s painting of Eve and Mary.

The painting’s focal point is Mary’s baby bump—God’s promised redemption for the shame begun in the Garden of Eden. That unborn baby bridges the gap of space and time, uniting these two women in the same story. I’ve never been filled with such awe over the incarnation of Jesus as I was while staring at that painting.

Now, we want to hear your stories of wonder and awe-inspired worship!

Some questions to get the ideas flowing:

  • Do you think wonder can be considered a spiritual practice? Why or why not?
  • How do you cultivate wonder in your daily life? 
  • Can we still experience wonder amid suffering and injustice?
  • What are some ways you’ve learned to see the ordinary and mundane parts of life through a lens of appreciation and curiosity? (E.g. daily responsibilities, church practices, your relationships, Scripture, etc.)
  • How has wonder shifted as you grow older?
  • Is wonder an antidote to self-absorption? Why or why not?
  • What inspires awe/praise in you?
  • How does the person of God draw you into wonder? What speaks to you about His character?
  • Reflect on the birth and incarnation of Jesus (remember, this issue comes out over Christmas! 😊). What strikes you in a new way you’ve never seen before? How have you learned to see this story, or other parts of Scripture, in a fresh way?
  • Is there a specific piece of art, music, or writing that has inspired wonder in you? How did that experience influence your faith or shift your perspective? Share that experience.

To further meditate on this topic, here are a few Scripture verses you can reflect on:

The creation story Genesis 1-3; Mary’s song in Luke 1:46-55; Psalm 72:18-19; 1 Corinthians 15; John 1:1-18; Psalm 19:1-6; Romans 1:20; Philippians 4:8; Psalm 139; Job 12:7-10; Job 38-42; Hebrews 12:28-29; and Psalm 103:11-12.

Again, the article deadline is August 27.