Faith is a serious business. It’s true. From an orthodox Christian perspective, it has an eternal impact. So, it is serious.
Serious, though, doesn’t mean solemn.
A few years ago, I experienced a life-changing question: what is your first experience of God? I was flummoxed. I had no idea. I knew my (relatively) more recent experiences, but my first?
I was grateful that I would be answering the question last. I sat and prayed. “God, when was it the first time I encountered you?”
God responded (to my heart/mind), “remember the scar?”
The scar is right below my right eyebrow. After so many years, it wasn’t important.
God reintroduced me to the memory of a hike with my father and some of his acquaintances. I was 4 or 5, I think, and the only kid. We were walking up a hill on a trail/road. I had looked out to the valley below and “it” hit me. I then tripped and fell. I now had a bleeding gash. My dad cleaned me up, put a butterfly bandage on it, and off we went.
The people in my group were a little puzzled. How could that possibly be a God encounter? Part of my spiritual wiring is trees and mountains. For me that’s almost an automatic response…God is here.
That feeling of awe and wonder isn’t so solemn. Thanks be to God!
Awe and wonder are indeed a gift from God. The blessing of children is that they can still have simple awe and wonder.
If we cannot wonder, then what kind of relationship do we have with God? If we have no awe, we are often only filled with fear. That isn’t a good relationship either.
This passage is often brought up as an encouragement to raise children in the faith. I wonder (I had to), though, if this was the first or only time this happened.
Children often know a person who authentically loves them. They like hanging around such a person. Often, they are louder, more joy-filled, and just want to have fun!
What if the adults were so solemn, they saw a prophet and were afraid? What if the children saw a friend, and were full of joy?
When was the last time you just wondered at, with, and about God?
God, may we wonder in your presence and see all of Creation through your eyes. Amen.