Godspace Light Newsletter

by Christine Sine

I spent the weekend in San Francisco with a church that is studying my book The Gift of Wonder. Yesterday I spent much of my day mulling over the questions they asked and the purpose of their study. I have never been involved with a church that is more interested in learning to enjoy the wonder and mystery of who God is and who God wants us to be.

How do we learn to enjoy God and appreciate the wonder of who God is, was the gist of many of the questions I was asked. It’s hard for us to view life and God “with the wide-eyed wonder of a child”, “Play, have fun, read children’s books, jump in puddles, share freely with your neighbours” were some of the things I suggested, most of which I talked about in yesterday’s Meditation Monday – Revisiting The Gift of Wonder. Unfortunately, most of us are too embarrassed to enter into childlike behavior. Instead of seeking to enjoy God and relish the wonder of a God whose very essence is love, with our hearts, we have tried to understand God with our minds.  But this is not the mysterious, unknowable God of wonder whose very essence is love. Instead I think we have belittled our Creator with rules and regulations that define how we think God wants us to behave, and there is often very little love or wonder expressed in those rules.

“I am increasingly convinced that rediscovering child-like wonder and the joy of play is essential for our spiritual health. Awe and wonder, imagination and curiosity connect us to the God who is present in every moment and every thing in a way that nothing else can. These qualities do bring healing to body, soul and spirit, moving us from isolation to community and help us find safety in the presence of both God and of others.” I said in yesterday’s Meditation Monday.

In his recent book Passions of the Soul, former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams comments “We are made for seeing and sharing glory.” A similar sentiment is expressed in the Westminster Shorter Catechism which states that the chief purpose of humanity is “to glorify God and enjoy him forever.” How much joy do you get from your relationship with God? How much time do you spend relishing the wonder of who God is? These are some of the questions I ask in The Gift of Wonder that I plan to continue revisiting over the next few weeks as I reread the book. Maybe you would like to revisit The Gift of Wonder and some of its suggestions too. This week in the aftermath of the incredible solar eclipse on Monday is a great time to do that.

Another question that kept surfacing over the weekend is “How do we live in wonder when there is so much injustice, trauma and environmental devastation in our world?” That is a harder one to answer. A couple of pointers to begin with though. Don’t ask “Why does God allow this to happen? But rather Where is God in the midst of it?” Secondly look for the joy-spots. What are the glimpses of love, compassion and peace that you see lived out in the midst of the horrors of war, violence and destruction. Living in wonder is about changing our view of the world and the way we act in it. Then by drawing on the resilience, inner strength and compassion that awe and wonder instill in us we are able to act more effectively as agents of God’s change towards wholeness and flourishing that we should be.

This is part of what my upcoming webinar the Spirituality of Gardening on May 11th is all about. This virtual retreat will help reconnect us to the wonder of a God who is all around us in the natural world. We will discuss not only how the life, death and resurrection is lived out in the garden, but also how to enter into the wonder of God through creative practices like contemplative nature walks, Lectio Tierra, creating a leaf rubbing, walking barefoot, and others. This will be a fun, instructive and interactive session. I hope you will join us.

This week on Godspace, was another inspiring week. On Saturday James Amadon presented us with Seven Shifts We Need To Make, a very thought provoking article that is the first of several published on the Circlewood blog The Ecological Disciple. I agree wholeheartedly: the majority of Christian denominations, churches, and individual disciples need major reform, and that ecological disciples can help lead the way. This will entail significant shifts within every aspect of faith, including theology.” A very thought provoking read. Make sure you read the whole series. https://www.ecodisciple.com/

In her Freerange Friday: The Easter Cup of What’s Next, Lilly Lewin continued to inspire us with her “cups” TAKE YOUR CUP and Consider what’s next… what a wonderful invitation to make us pause and reflect on what Jesus means to us at this season.

On Thursday, in her post Five Myths About Empathy, Lynne Baab shared another of her husband’s awe inspiring paintings. She also discussed “myths about empathy with the goal of lightening pressure to empathize perfectly. Understanding these myths can help us develop do-able listening skills so we can enter into the lives of people we love. You may want to think about how these myths relate to compassion as well.” It is a must read post.

On Wednesday West Australian Rodney Marsh shared another in his series of “Garden Friends” introducing us to the New Holland Honey Eaters, and the lessons he learned from listening to them and watching them.

Tomorrow we will publish our next episode of The Liturgical Rebels. I am very excited about this one. It is with Mark Pierson a Baptist pastor in Auckland New Zealand. He is one of my mentors, the man who gave me permission to become a liturgical rebel. Joining us in the conversation will be my co-host Lilly Lewin, who has also been inspired by Mark and his amazing creativity. The following episode will be an interview with Lilly Lewin herself. Make sure you are up to date with your listening before this episode goes live. I am working to line up some more exciting episodes in the next few months including interviews with Shane Claiborne, Tony Jones and Brian McLaren. And in case you are concerned that most of the episodes until now have been with men, don’t worry I am working on a slew of possible interviews with some of my favorite female liturgical rebels – Kathy Escobar, Christine Valters Paintner, and Naomi Lawrence. Tom and I will be travelling to the UK for 2 weeks in June and I hope to line up another few interviews while I am over there. I am thoroughly enjoying the new aspects of life that this podcast is opening for me. I hope you are enjoying it too.

Thank you for the continuing encouragement for my move to Substack which I decided to rename “Walking in Wonder With Christine Sine.  I am discovering that this too is opening up new vistas for me. New ways to hold conversations and to interact with more of you. I might even start recording some of my posts – a different kind of podcast.

Today I thought I would end with this image that my friend Forrest Inslee sent me.

Many blessings on you all.

To Garden with God and Gift of Wonder cards

To Garden with God and Gift of Wonder cards

To Garden With God + Gift of Wonder Prayer Cards Bundle

This unique bundle includes our best selling book, To Garden with God, and 1 set of Gift of Wonder prayer cards (12 cards).

“No matter how many challenges there are, nothing can take away from the deep satisfaction of getting one’s hands into the earth, digging, planting and harvesting the bounty of God’s good creation. Nor can they detract from the joy that engulfs as as we experience the awe inspiring generosity of a God who wants to provide abundantly for all of humankind. The garden is a place of healing, of wholeness and of deeply spiritual encounters where God restores our bodies and our spirits in a way that is truly miraculous.” (from To Garden with God)

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