A special guest post from a dear friend, Christine Aroney-Sine. I contribute an occasional post to her wonderful and inspiring blog, Godspace
Yesterday I made yoghurt. I heated the milk to 160F, allowed it to cool to 125F and then added 1/2 cup of yoghurt from my last batch. I ladled into quart jars, placed them snuggly under a warm blanket and six hours later I had yoghurt. I stood and stared at it in awe, amazed by the fact that tiny microbes have been at work diligently transforming my milk, solidifying it into a delicious tangy yoghurt.
This is the first time I have ever taken notice and been fully attentive to this wonderful fermenting process. Usually I just take it for granted, but this month I have decided to take the “awe and wonder challenge” and find at least six things each day that give me a sense of awe. Today it was my yoghurt making that first caught my attention.
Sadly though children experience awe a hundred times a day, adults rarely do. So much of what seems miraculous to a child adults dismiss as unimportant. Or they rationalize it away with scientific knowledge destroying the mystery and wonder of God in the process. We live in an awe deprived world. We sit in front of computers, not under trees and rarely take time to notice the grandeur of God’s world and of those we share it with. Yet awe and wonder change the way we look at ourselves and our world reorienting our thinking and our actions away from ourselves to the needs of those around us.
This month I have added a “daily dose of awe” experience to my spiritual disciplines. My husband and I have rechristen our daily walks “awe and wonder walks” pointing out to each other the blossom laden trees and brilliant smiling daffodils that take our breath away. Sometimes we stop for a few minutes just to admire them. It is fun and inspirational, connecting us to God in vital and enriching ways.
I am increasingly convinced that rediscovering child-like wonder, is essential for our spiritual health too. It was this conviction that prompted me to write The Gift of Wonder in which I explore twelve childlike characteristics that I think make us fit for God’s kingdom. Did you know that a daily dose of awe makes us more caring and compassionate people? Regular reminiscing and nature walks make us healthier physically, emotionally and spiritually. Gratitude transforms our lives and our faith in incredible ways.
My own growing joy and delight from my “daily dose of awe” experiences encouraged me to apply the same principal to other activities. On the plane, I am the one with my window shutter down when everyone else is trying to see their screens. I am inspired by the landscape we pass over. I look down at the meandering rivers shining in the morning sunlight. That’s God doodling I exclaim.
The Bible too is full of awe. We hear it in David’s exclamation of praise in Psalm 65:8 for example
The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders
Where morning dawns, where evening fades,
You call forth songs of joy.
Awe begets awe. As we take notice of the awe inspiring aspects of our world, we start to notice awe and wonder wherever we go.
Awe begets awe. As we take notice of the awe inspiring aspects of our world, we start to notice awe and wonder wherever we go. We gasp at flowers sparkling in the sunlight, and stop to drink in the song of birds in the trees or stand on the hill to better watch the wind rushing through the grass. Then our eyes shift to the people around us. The image of God is etched in each one of them. It is not just our friends and family who give us a sense of awe. The resilience of the homeless and the strength of the abandoned also inspire us.
Opening my eyes to notice the awe inspiring world in which we live and the awe inspiring people we share it with has transformed my faith. I want to continue noticing the wonder of the changing seasons and immerse myself in their beauty. I want to increasingly be drawn into the presence of our fun loving, joy filled God. This is a great time to get out and have some fun in God’s world. Will you join me in discovering the wonder of God and of God’s world? Take the awe and wonder challenge with me. See how many miracles unfold before you each day.
About Christine Aroney-Sine
Contemplative activist, passionate gardener, author, and liturgist, Christine loves messing with spiritual traditions and inspiring followers of Jesus to develop creative approaches to spirituality that intertwine the sacred through all of life. She is the founder and facilitator for the popular contemplative blog godspacelight.com. Her most recent book is The Gift of Wonder: Creative Practices for Delighting in God. (IVP 2019)
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