Wonder of wonders, we are here.
And then – wonder of wonders – we disappear … And we disappear to discover – wonder of wonders – that this disappearing is only a passing into the eternal embrace of the wondrous Love Supreme.
It is from Holy Wonder that we come It is to Holy Wonder that we return.
And whatever wonder we discover here in all our living, That wonder is like an aperture opening -for a moment – to the eternal Holy Mystery.
Awe is the source of wisdom – as the psalmist sings. Awe: wonder, terrible wonder, before the Holy One Beyond Name, A wonder that can be thunderous Awe-full as well as awesome. This is the source of wisdom.
And interwoven with wisdom is Gratitude.
Gratitude: Wonder at the very fact that we are here. Wonder our very existence, Wonder at the very existence of all we enjoy and cherish This is the wellspring of Gratitude
Wow: We have awoken again this morning With breath in our lungs And the coursing of blood in our veins With intelligence and feeling And whatever measure of strength is ours today As we love and we labor together As we struggle and suffer and survive together And rise together again As we delight together and dally and dance and enjoy the fruits of this earth As we inquire and explore and discover and experiment As we take up the things of this earth and make something new, useful, beautiful. As we trade those things As we share them and steward them, restore them, pass them on, let them go. As we bear new life, give birth to new life and raise our children together and teach our children. As we bury our dead And hold close the immense meaning of those we love. As we remember the stories and the wisdom of old. As we sing together and pray to the Holy One who created us, the Holy One who sustains us, the Holy One who redeems us. And after each day, each season, we settle down and rest again. All upon a broad earth and under a broad sky All shot through with the tremendous glory of God All open and humming with the breath of the Eternal Spirit In which we live and move and have our being.
So in a spirit of wonder, and a spirit of gratitude that flows from this wonder, let us pray together, In the word the words of that dear old rabble rousing preacher, Walter Rauschenbusch: “O God, We thank you for this earth, our home; for the wide sky and the blessed sun, for the ocean and streams, for the towering hills and the whispering wind, for the trees and green grass.
We thank you for our senses by which we hear the songs of birds, and see the splendor of fields of golden wheat, and taste autumn’s fruit, rejoice in the feel of snow, and smell the breath of spring flowers.
Grant us a heart opened wide to all this beauty; and save us from being so blind that we pass unseeing when even the common thorn bush is aflame with your glory.
For each new dawn is filled with infinite possibilities for new beginnings and new discoveries. Life is constantly changing and renewing itself.
In this new day of new beginnings with God, all things are possible. We are restored and renewed in a joyous awakening to the wonder that our lives are and, yet, can be. Amen.”
Reading from Biblical Wisdom Pslam 111: 1-4, 7-10 Hallelujah! I will wholeheartedly give thanks to The Supreme One in the council of the upright and in the assembly. The deeds of The Supreme One are great, greatly desired by all who enjoy them. God’s work is full of majesty and splendor, and God’s justice continues forever. God has gained renown for his wonders. The Supreme One is merciful and compassionate. The works of God’s hands are truth and justice; all God’s precepts can be trusted. They have been established forever and ever, to be carried out truly and honestly. God sent redemption to the people and decreed a covenant that lasts forever. God’s name is holy and awesome — the source of wisdom is awe of The Supreme One; all those living by it gain good common sense. God’s praise stands forever.
Reading from Modern Wisdom “Whatever gifts and mercies in my lot may fall, I would not measure As worth a certain price in praise, or great or small; But take and use them all with simple pleasure. For when we gladly eat our daily bread, we bless The Hand that feeds us; And when we tread the road of Life in cheerfulness, Our very heart-beats praise the Love that leads us.” – Carl Sandburg, from “Gratitude”
(Delivered November 19, 2017, at First Congregational Church of Walla Walla, by Rev. Nathaniel Mahlberg)