Word for Word 7/10/24

Pastor Diane Koschmeder

Awe. Awesome. Surprise. Overwhelming. The unknowable, inexpressible. Joy. Wonder.

What do these words mean to you? Old, confusing words? Something that takes your breath away. A beautiful sunset, a baby’s smile, ocean waves landing gracefully on the beach, a stranger who stops to help someone who has fallen, music that captures our attention with its beauty. Gazing at the Grand Canyon. All these things may bring, in us, a feeling of awe. They may be big things or they may be small. But we are changed by them.

The Bible abounds with awe. Glory to God in the highest! Praise the Lord! Fall on your knees in wonder. Moses at the burning bush that somehow doesn’t burn up. Water that flows from a rock. A blind man sees, a beggar is healed, an angel comes to Mary. These are all things that we can’t explain, even when they are right in front of us. Sometimes we take them for granted. We need to improve our seeing. We need to pay attention with open minds and hearts.

A few years ago, I read about a young man who experienced awe in a way that touched him deeply. He decided to write in a journal, each day, something he saw that was awe. He thought he would run out of things quickly. But surprise, every day he came onto something that brought him awe. Dramatic or simple, an old man’s smile, a flower growing out of a crack in the sidewalk. For a whole year and beyond he found awe. He didn’t expect to embark upon such an unending journey of awe. But it can happen to any of us if we just intentionally look around.

Our world now is full of darkness and division. There is hate, war, greed, loss all around us. Suffering, starvation and genocide. And so much fear. This is nothing new. Human history is full of this as far back as creation. Jesus certainly faced the same.

How do we find hope? Is there hope to be found? As children of our loving God, we say we are children of hope. But that hope can often feel shaky when we face reality. I have a suggestion, a challenge for all of us. Now is the season of Epiphany in the Christian church - a time of revelation! Christ comes to us in these experiences.

Let us look for and be open to times of awe. Write them down. Surprise ourselves! Share them with each other. Mine today is the brilliance of the sun coming in the kitchen window as I ate breakfast. Simple, I know, but this has opened my heart to awe. And awe gives us hope.

Pastor Diane Koschmeder
Our Savior’s Lutheran Church