One of my favorite quotes is from Socrates, “Wisdom begins in wonder.” I like to apply this to how amazing, awe-some, and wondrous God is. Surely if I understand that I can’t begin to fathom the depth, height or breadth of the Creator of the universe, I will live my life in the fear [reverence, awe, respect] of the Lord, which Proverbs tells us is the beginning of wisdom.
One of the byproducts of such take on Socrates’ statement, though, is that it forces me to examine what I take wonder in, why I do so, and what those implications are for me. After my recent trip to Disneyworld (my first visit ever, and I’m almost 30), I find myself walking down that road again.
It doesn’t help that I have two little girls who found themselves in non-stop amazement as we walked the streets of Disney. Every time we stumbled upon a character or a new ride or a parade, their little eyes would explode, and they found such joy in the experience. It’s strange to think that as they approached the characters, they weren’t intimidated, unsure or afraid. Neither were they presumptuous, proud or arrogant. They simply entered into the presence of someone they never thought they could see in real life, to hold and touch, take a picture with them, or get his/her autograph.
I have to admit that as I walked the park, I was amazed at both its simplicity and its complexity. The same technology was used for the Dumbo ride, for Aladdin’s carpet ride, and for both a rocket and dinosaur ride. Yet no one tired of going up and down in a circle time and again. Each was its own unique experience. And yet great care was taken to complete each facade, be it geared towards storybook readers, frontier explorers, or even aspiring heroic archaeologists.
And then it hits me. The more I read and hear about the consumerist culture in church today, I realize that I cannot deny it. It isn’t so much that we are setting up stores or letting in the moneychangers, but that we believe that church is all about us. It has to be beneficial to us in a way that we believe it should be.
While serving on staff at my first church I was amazed at the attitude that came from leaders in the congregation, even from the deacons/elders. Few would attend the Sunday evening or Wednesday evening services, and fewer would even consider joining the prayer service. It was not uncommon that I would pray about a focus for the prayer meeting, prepare maybe a short devotion or some automatic Powerpoint slides, and then find myself the only in the building for prayer.
Jesus talked about coming to Him like children, and before this vacation I don’t think I truly understood what that meant. As I sit and ponder and unpackage this truth, I can’t help seeing unashamed joy, satisfaction and wonder in the faces of my children as they walked up to princesses, overgrown ducks, chipmunks, dogs and mice. Confident but reverent. And grateful for seeing what they only imagined.
Keep an eye out for more posts unpacking these thoughts.