When I was a kid, my parents took me on Sunday afternoon drives in the country. As we drove they would point out how healthy particular livestock appeared or how the crops had grown. My dad would take me on walks in the woods hunting mushrooms, or take me fishing where we would sit quietly and observe creation. My mother always planted a large garden. I can still hear her marvel at the miracle of seed and soil, tempered with sunshine and rain and how they came together to produce the food that would eventually grace our simple kitchen table.
We only took two vacations during my years at home, but they were both purposeful. One year we spent a week in Colorado driving through the mountains. We didn’t stop much, except to pull over and take a occassional snapshot. But I can remember the breathtaking beauty of the mountains surpassing all that I had seen in books or on television. The other vacation was to the ocean. We only spent one day at the beach, but I remember feeling how vast the ocean looked as I waded chest high into the crashing waves.
I flew for the first time when I was in high school. It was a brief flight in a single prop plane. I can still recall the sensation of take off, and how I spent the entire flight pressing my nose against the window pointing out cars and houses and people that looked so very small because I was so very high.
I remember the marvelous beauty of my bride on our wedding day. I remember thinking that she had never been more beautiful, and wondered how she would ever be able to remain beautiful. But everytime she walks into the room I find she still catches my eye…more beautiful today than ever before.
I remember the sacred moments of watching my children be born then holding their tiny bodies in my arms praying for the grace to be able to provide for them. First tears and first steps and first words soon follow. I recall first presents and first prayers and first day of school. Their baptisms. These are the events that can truly be described as amazing.
But time goes on. The miles pile on to the odometer of life and the new car smell fades. There are door dings and scratches and a little rust around the fender. Yet God, who is the same yesterday, today, and forever is still the same amazing God.
I wonder if ingratitude isn’t the culprit. Take my cell phone, for example. I have a cell phone that makes telephone calls, provides email, text messaging and access to the internet. Yet for all that it does, all I seem to do is complain about how slow it downloads apps or how I have limited coverage in certain geographical regions. As another example, I grew up with three television stations. My satellite provider brings me scores of channels with High Definition clarity to my plasma television. But, wouldn’t you know, there’s never anything on worth watching. And when is the last time you talked to a business traveller who didn’t have some criticism of the airline that just carried them across two time zones in a couple of hours?
Why do we lack a sense of wonder? Where did it go? When did we stop being amazed at those things that are truly amazing? I’m not sure if its ingratitude or some other systemic problem. But I do know this. When we lose our sense of wonder, we lose our sense of worship. One of the reasons that our worship seems lifeless and inanimate is that we have lost our sense of wonder. Everything in life now has an explanation. Like it or not, there’s a little bit of Cliff Claven in each of us. We are know-it-alls. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt. But now what?
David never lost sight of the wonder of God. Consider Psalm 8 for example.
“O Lord, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth! Your glory is higher than the heavens. You have taught children and infants to tell of your strength, silencing your enemies and all who oppose you. When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers—the moon and the stars that you have set in place—what are mere mortals that you should think about them, human beings that you should care for them? Yet you made them only a little lower than God and crowned them with glory and honor. You gave them charge of everything you made, putting all things under their authority—the flocks and the herds and all the wild animals, the birds in the sky, and the fish in the sea, and everything that swims the ocean currents. O Lord, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth!” (Psalm 8:1-9, NLT)