by Christine Sine
As we move into September and October we are shifting the focus on Godspace. Our theme for the next couple of months is Let Hate Become Love. As I mentioned in the Godspace update last week, violence and hatred seem to prevail in our world today, yet God is a God of love. So the question I am contemplating is: What does love look like in our world today and how can we be instruments of God’s love into our world and the lives of those around us?
One way I suggest in my post last week, is to do things together like singing, dancing, eating and serving. These all help turn hate into love. Yet we live in an increasingly individualistic and self centred world. How do we bring people together so that hate can indeed be transformed into love?
Lets Introduce Awe and Wonder
This week, as I did research for my new book on creative spirituality, I discovered one way to bring us together that had never occurred to me: Let’s introduce some awe and wonder into our lives. Research suggests that even brief experiences of awe, such as being amid beautiful tall trees, lead people to feel less narcissistic and entitled and more attuned to the common humanity people share with one another. Awe helps bind us to others, motivating us to act in collaborative ways that enable strong groups and cohesive communities. It reorients our actions towards the needs of those around us and can even help us find a sense of purpose for our lives.
Unfortunately, research also suggests that we are awe deprived. We spend more time working and commuting and less time in nature, involved in art and music or with other people, the main situations that invoke awe and wonder. So here are some suggestions for a good dose of awe and wonder:
- Get our into nature. Take a walk in your local park or forest, sit on the beach and watch the sunset, listen to birdsong or a waterfall.
- Take notice of the small beautiful things around you. Pick up a leaf and examine its delicate structure. Examine the petals of a flower, or the details of an ant.
- Seek out what gives you goosebumps. Awe can be triggered by an unexpected smile, a helping hand on the bus, a mural on a wall. Think about what gives you a sense of awe and look for those triggers around you.
- See the world differently. Walk with a child and marvel at their perceptions and curiosity. Look through a camera lens or under a microscope. Close your eyes and rejoice in the beauty of touch and smell.
- Slow down and take notice. Lie on the grass and look at the clouds. Watch the light dance off a raindrop. Listen to your favourite piece of music. read through your favourite poem. Share your experiences in your journal or with a friend.
What is Your Response?
The Bible of is full of expressions of awe and wonder both of God and God’s creation. We see it in Moses awe and wonder at the great creator of the universe as expressed in Deuteronomy 10: 14, 17 (NIV) Look, the highest heavens and the earth and everything in it all belong to the Lord your God…. For the Lord your God is the God of gods and Lord of lords. He is the great God, the mighty and awesome God, who shows no partiality and cannot be bribed. We see it in David’s exclamation of praise of creation in Psalm 65:8 The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders; where morning dawns, where evening fades, you call forth songs of joy. I think we also see it in Jesus encouragement to his followers to go out and look closely at the birds and think about the wild lilies in Luke 12:27. God and God’s world are meant to inspire us with awe and wonder.
Here too I think we are awe deprived. When was the last time you sat in awe of God’s greatness?
What inspires you with awe when you think about God?
Watch the video below and reflect on this question. How do you feel you could respond?