Surprised by Wonder

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Lord, catch me off guard today.
Surprise me with some moment
of beauty or pain
So that at least for the moment
I may be startled into seeing that you
are here in all your splendor,
Always and everywhere,
Barely hidden,
Beneath.
Beyond,
Within this life I breathe.

–Frederick Buechner

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Cause for Wonder

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There are tremendous astonishments in the Christian evangel which, however baldly stated, should fire my sluggish soul with wonder, and fill it with amazement. The fact that I listened so blandly shows that I have I have become blasé. I am like soldier in the trenches who no longer notices the bursting shells about him.

— F. W. Boreham,
The Baby and Bombshell

Published in: on 08/03/2016 at 11:26  Leave a Comment  
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All is a Miracle

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People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child — our own two eyes. All is a miracle.

–Thich Nhat Hanh

Published in: on 07/17/2016 at 13:27  Leave a Comment  
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Lost in Wonder

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We must recognize the fact that true wonder is not a passing emotion or some kind of shallow excitement. It has depth to it. True wonder reaches right into your heart and mind and shakes you up. It not only has depth, it has value; it enriches your life.

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Wonder is not cheap amusement that brings a smile to your face. It is an encounter with reality – with God – that brings awe to your heart. You are overwhelmed with an emotion that is a mixture of gratitude, adoration, reverence, fear, — and love. You are not looking for explanations; you are lost in the wonder of God.

–Warren Wiersbe

Published in: on 07/09/2016 at 17:55  Leave a Comment  
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Delightful Repetition

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It may not be automatic necessity
that makes all daisies alike;
it may be that God
makes every daisy separately,
but has never got tired of making them.
It may be that He has
the eternal appetite of infancy;
for we have sinned and grown old,
and our Father is younger than we.
The repetition in Nature may not be
a mere recurrence; it may be
a theatrical encore.

–G. K. Chesterton,
Orthodoxy

 

Published in: on 06/04/2016 at 12:33  Comments (1)  
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Growing into Wonder

2eb4a860001a17954de660ffWe mature as wonder expands.
We grow up as we become
as little children.
–Peter Leithart

Published in: on 04/06/2016 at 19:04  Leave a Comment  
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Lacking wonder

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We are perishing
for want of wonder,
not for want
of wonders.

–G. K. Chesterton

Surrounded by glory

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Even a bare-bones
human existence
contains enough glory
to stagger anyone of us
into bewildered awe.

–Eugene Peterson

Published in: on 03/31/2015 at 17:27  Leave a Comment  
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The need to worship

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I need to worship because without it I can forget that I have a Big God beside me and live in fear. I need to worship because without it I can forget his calling and begin to live in a spirit of self-preoccupation.

I need to worship because
without it I lose a sense of wonder
and gratitude and plod through life
with blinders on.

I need worship because my natural tendency is toward self-reliance and stubborn independence.

― John Ortberg

Two ways to live

by the waters

There are only
two ways to live your life.
One is as though nothing
is a miracle.
The other is as though
everything is.

–Albert Einstein
(1879-1955)

Published in: on 11/11/2014 at 3:13  Leave a Comment  
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Retaining the wonder

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Let us remember one thing: the worst thing that can happen to our Christianity is to let it become a thing taken for granted . . . The marvel of God’s gracious act upon our life never really dawns upon us unless we render thanks to him every day. Only the man who gives thanks retains the wonder of God’s fatherly love in his thoughts. But the one who has this wonder in his thoughts keeps the very spring and freshness of his Christianity. He holds on daily and nightly, to a living joy in his Lord and Saviour.

–Helmut Thielicke
The Waiting Father

The need to worship

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I need to worship because without it I can forget that I have a Big God beside me and live in fear. I need to worship because without it I can forget his calling and begin to live in a spirit of self-preoccupation. I need to worship because without it I lose a sense of wonder and gratitude and plod through life with blinders on. I need worship because my natural tendency is toward self-reliance and stubborn independence.

–John Ortberg

Published in: on 06/27/2014 at 11:56  Leave a Comment  
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Only one miracle

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After lecturing learnedly on miracles, a great theologian was asked to give a specific example of one. “There is only one miracle,” he answered. “It is life.” Have you wept at anything during the past year? Has your heart beat faster at the sight of young beauty? Have you thought seriously about the fact that someday you are going to die? More often than not do you really listen when people are speaking to you instead of just waiting for your turn to speak? Is there anybody you know in whose place, if one of you had to suffer great pain, you would volunteer yourself? If your answer to all or most of these questions is No, the chances are that you’re dead.

–Frederick Buechner
Wishful Thinking

Altars everywhere

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Earth is so thick
with divine possibility
that it is a wonder
we can walk anywhere
without cracking our shins
on altars.

–Barbara Brown Taylor
An Altar in the World

Published in: on 05/23/2014 at 17:10  Leave a Comment  
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The value of the ordinary

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Do not forget that
the value and interest of life
is not so much to do
with conspicuous things . . .
as to do ordinary things
with the perception of
their enormous value.

–Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Worship and wonder

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Wonder is a deep, profound experience. The typical secular education of our day makes us suspicious or callous to wonder. It seems so unscientific, so unsophisticated, and ultimately, so seemingly unnecessary. So they say. But to lose the sense of wonder is to lose one of the great beauties of life. Worship, on the other hand, exercises our sense of wonder. It helps us see things and hear things and feel things, that not everyone recognizes. Worship, in essence, is wonderful.

–Hughes Oliphant Old

Published in: on 01/22/2014 at 19:39  Leave a Comment  
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The amazing fact

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The probability of us
being here is so small,
you’d think the mere fact
of existing would keep us all
in a contented dazzlement
of surprise.

–C. S. Lewis

Image: Ross Catrow

Published in: on 01/04/2014 at 8:17  Leave a Comment  
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Taking nothing for granted

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To be grateful is to recognize the Love of God in everything He has given us–and He has given us everything. Every breath we draw is a gift of His love, every moment of existence is a grace, for it brings with it immense graces from Him. Gratitude therefore takes nothing for granted, is never unresponsive, is constantly awakening to new wonder and to praise of the goodness of God. For the grateful man knows that God is good, not by hearsay but by experience. And that is what makes all the difference.

–Thomas Merton
Thoughts in Solitude

Image: Stephen Darbishire

 

The grace of life

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Listen to your life.
See it for the fathomless mystery it is.
In the boredom and pain of it no less
than in the excitement and gladness:
touch, taste, smell your way
to the holy and hidden heart of it
because in the last analysis
all moments are key moments,
and life itself is grace.

–Frederick Buechner
Now and Then

The best things

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The best things are nearest:
breath in your nostrils,
light in your eyes,
flowers at your feet,
duties at your hand,
the path of God
just before you.

–Robert Louis Stevenson

When we cease to believe

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God does not die on the day when we cease to believe in a personal deity, but we die on the day when our lives cease to be illumined by the steady radiance, renewed daily, of a wonder, the source of which is beyond all reason.

–Dag Hammarskjold
(1905 – 1961)

Published in: on 02/09/2013 at 3:10  Leave a Comment  
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Childlike faith

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Faith cannot be intellectually defined;
faith is the inborn capacity to see God
behind everything, the wonder that
keeps you an eternal child.

–Oswald Chambers

Published in: on 01/29/2013 at 2:16  Leave a Comment  
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Rumors of another world

I began to listen to my own longings as rumours of another world, a bright clue to the nature of the Creator. Somehow I had fallen for the deception of judging the natural world as unspiritual and God as antipleasure.

But God invented matter, after all,
including all the sensors in the body
through which I experience pleasure.

Nature and supernature are not two separate worlds, but different expressions of the same reality.

–Philip Yancey

The rare moment

The rare moment
is not the moment when
there is something worth looking at,
but the moment when
we are capable of seeing.

— Joseph Wood Krutch

Published in: on 09/13/2012 at 8:16  Leave a Comment  
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The Creator’s design

“The highest heavens belong to the Lord,
but the earth he has given to mankind.”
(Psa. 115:16)

Why did You create all these things? They were all made for man and man was made for You. That was the order which You established. Woe to the one who reverses it, who would that all should be for him and turns in upon himself. He breaks the fundamental law of creation.

–François Fenelon
(1651 – 1715)

Try to be there

It’s all a matter of keeping my eyes open. Beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will sense them. The least we can do is to try to be there . . . so creation need not play to an empty house.

–Annie Dillard

Saturated with grace

Our world is saturated with grace, and the lurking presence of God is revealed not only in spirit but in matter—in a deer leaping across a meadow, in the flight of an eagle, in fire and water, in a rainbow after a summer storm, in a gentle doe streaking through a forest, in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, in a child licking a chocolate ice cream cone, in a woman with windblown hair. God intended for us to discover His loving presence in the world around us.

–Brennan Manning

The miracle

The miracle is not . . .
to cast out demons, heal the sick
and turn multitudes to the faith.
The miracle is to be loved, forgiven,
and accepted by God.

The miracle

The miracle is not . . .
having wealth or fame.
The miracle is having toes
and a tongue and fingers
and knees and a nose.

The miracle

The miracle is not . . .
walking on water.
It is walking on a planet
where there are blackberries,
waterfalls, sunsets,
hummingbirds, rainbows,
butterflies and penguins. 

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