Pure Joy and Pure Wonder

This is a picture of Hudson. I think it just shows pure joy. I love this picture because it is who Hudson truly is. He is a boy with a lot of joy.

1014160_10153073173975643_332362380_n

And to be honest Hudson shows his joy and thankfulness a lot. His prayers at supper and lunch tend to be long as he thanks God for everything he can think of. They are full of joy of what he has done in the day and hopes to do.

What amazes me is how much he has to thank God for, things I don’t even think of. He thanks God for all his cars (often by name…so it takes a while). He thanks God for our family, for Grandma and Nana and Papa (often also praying that he will go there on Tuesday), and for sunshine, for his backpack, for Skylanders, and for everything else.

I got to wondering if part of the reason Hudson is so joyful in this picture is because he is able to be so “present” to things?

Every experience for Hudson is like a brand new experience. He enters into with eyes-wide-open. We have been to the Splash Pad in that picture dozens of times, but he loves it like it’s new each and every time. There is a sense of wonder that permeates his life. There is a sense of joy that spills out.

I wonder when was the last time I felt like that?

When was the last time you looked like that picture?

I think this is something to strive for. I think this is something to seek, about being at a place of pure joy. So this week practice being thankful, practice entering into familiar places and relationships with wonder and awe. Practice being fully present. And if none of those things work. Why not try running through a splash pad…

“The insights of wonder must be constantly kept alive…I did not ask for success; I asked for wonder. And you gave it to me”. Abraham Joshua Heschel

The Failure of Religion

1412713_28106567Recently I was reading some of my notes on Abraham Joshua Heschel’s excellent book “God in Search of Man”.  I came across this quote that I’d wrote down. I thought I would share it because of its depth, its challenge, and I think its truth:
“It is customary to blame secular science and anti-religious philosophy for the eclipse of religion in modern society. It would be more honest to blame religion for its own defeats. Religion declined not because it was refuted, but because it became irrelevant, dull, oppressive, insipid. When faith is completely replaced by creed, worship by discipline, love by habit; when the crisis of today is ignored because of the splendor of the past; when faith becomes an heirloom rather than a living fountain; when religion speaks only in the name of authority rather than with the voice of compassion – it’s message becomes meaningless.”
What do you think about it? When I read this quote, it so convicted me as a pastor, because the life of faith shouldn’t be dull or insipid. But I wonder how often faith moves from a living fountain, to a dead pool? I also wondered how am I ensuring that the faith I preach is living? That the love I espouse is active? That the relationship I have with God never becomes irrelevant, dull, or oppressive. These are the questions that this quote brings up for me that I’m thinking through today.
What about you? What do you think about it? What questions does it bring up?

Chasing Bubbles ~ Developing Wonder

I’m just going to state the obvious. My son has more fun than me at any given moment. Seriously. My life compared to his is dull, dreary, and lacks luster. Any parent knows immediately this truth: kids love to play with bubbles proportionally more than we really like to do anything. Bubbles bring out this amazing sense of play, awe and excitement in my son that happens so naturally and easily.

This is important to note because Jesus says in Luke 18:16, “The Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children.” And as I ponder this verse in connection with my son I’ve realized something. He has more wonder than me.

I think this is part of what Jesus is saying in this verse and that if we are to become childlike I believe it means, in some sense, to regain our sense of wonder. Abraham Joshua Heschel wrote, “The whole earth is full of his glory, but we do not perceive it; it is within our reach but beyond our grasp”. He continued to write of the importance of wonder, awe, and astonishment. I believe children grasp what we do not perceive as adults: that there is wonder, awe, and God’s presence all around us. If we want to grow closer to God we need to allow a spirit of wonder to capture us. Heschel says, “The insights of wonder must be constantly kept alive. Since there is a need for daily wonder, there is a need for daily worship”.

This is what I am learning to do through Hudson. I now stand in awe of bubbles as they move, sway, and swirl through the sun. We stare at the stars in amazement as he yells “that one, that one, that one”, as he personally seeks to discover each star in the sky. We slow down and watch butterflies dance across the sky holding our breath in excitement.  And as I do this with him he is teaching me wonder, and teaching me to find God…

So today do something that is truly “wonder-full” and seek to discover God as a child would, with wonder, awe, innocence and joy. Then share where you found wonder or who it was with. For me obviously the best “wonder-hunter” in the world is Hudson. So today we’re going to explore this world together and find God in the midst of it…go have fun!

Finding God in a Soup Catastrophe

My son Hudson is wonderful. He is fun, smart, funny, and gets excited easily. Hudson also loves soup. So I made homemade soup for him. And he got so excited…that…this happened:

He got this huge smile while eating the soup, was so excited that he took the bowl and raised it above his head. But the bowl tipped and went all over him, where he yelled out – “Oh no!”

So how did I see God in this?

Well in a simple but beautiful way. For Hudson so much of life is filled with wonder, excitement, and is a gift. Soup is a gift. Soup is exciting. Soup is wonder-full. Hudson seems to be able to appreciate so much of his life. And that’s where I see God. When you can appreciate that life is a gift, life is exciting, and life is full of wonder then you find God.

This is what the Psalmist I believe sees when he talks about God creating the skies, the stars, and creation. That God is found when you stop in wonder. God is found when you appreciate the gift of life you’ve been given.

God can even be found in soup…

You find God hidden in everyday moments when you appreciate the little gifts you are given, the wonder of friendship, and beauty of life. For Hudson this means finding God in cheeseburger soup. For me I see God in Hudson. Covered with soup or not, he is a gift, makes me stop in wonder, and appreciate life. The Psalmist ends Psalm 8 with, “Oh God, our God, you are a part of the whole world”. He’s even a part of soup catastrophes.

So I saw Jesus in soup, my son, and everyday living.

Where did you see him this week?