By Wallace Johnson
Pastor Orange UMC
Chapel Hill, NC
First read Psalm 95:3-5
I always look forward to a yearly backpacking trip with a few friends. There is something deep within my soul that calls me away from my busy life of church and family into something wild and dangerous.
I appreciate the vulnerable feeling of trampling through the woods alone and many miles from civilization. I need the thrill of edging along a crumbling cliff, fording swift rivers with my pack above my head, cooking over a little camp stove and enduring freezing temperatures. I anticipate the blisters, busted knees, sore back and exhaustion that follows a good adventure. More than anything I crave the time spent in wonder.
Life is crazy. I get that. It is so easy in a crazy hectic life to miss daily opportunities for wonder. The majestic placement of an oak tree is overlooked for the desperate pursuit of a caffeine pickup. The power of a spring thunderstorm is dismissed as a frustrating inconvenience to your nicely styled hair. The elegance of a babbling stream is forgotten for a notification from Twitter. We miss the opportunities for wonder because there seems to be no time. We were created for wonder, though. It is in wonder that we learn something of God. When that wonder is lost to a hectic lifestyle, we miss a little of God’s communication with us.
Time spent in creation is so important to me because it calls me to wonder. The last trip my friends and I took was a 4-day journey through a mountain chain in Arkansas. We climbed and descended 5 significant mountains over a 30-mile trip. Toward the end of the trip I sat at the top of the tallest mountain on the Ouachita chain looking out over Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas filled with wonder. I looked out over the vast expanse of God’s creation and I knew a little of the wonder with which the psalmist wrote. I felt small and insignificant. It felt peaceful and right.
Wonder puts life in perspective. We often have a tendency to think more of ourselves than we ought. It is called selfishness. I believe selfishness is the root of all sin. During this time of Lent I pray that you will be able to confront your selfishness and trade it in for an experience of wonder. It is through wonder that we are put in our rightful place and we get a taste of the power and majesty of our Almighty God.
1. How will I take time to notice creation today?
2. What selfishness should I confess?
3. How can I set time aside for wonder in my hectic life?