World Communion Sunday
Sermon: Wisdom to Wonder and Share
Scripture generally and Psalm 104 in particular, paints a picture. You can imagine the canvas being filled in as it moves along: the waters flowing through the mountains and the valleys; teams of fish swimming in it; animals drinking off to the side; the birds singing while they circle and make nests; the cattle in the distance grazing; trees providing shade; a sunset; people working together peacefully, making wine, bread, and oil.
The scene is so picturesque, so perfect that the psalmist’s heart is stirred. “I will sing to the Lord as long as I live” (v. 33), he declares.
Surely, we’ve all had such heart-stirring moments. Viewing the Grand Canyon, being in the midst of the Rockies, mustard or canola fields in bloom as far as the eye can see, a triple rainbow, water so still it seems like a mirror… So many times I’ve looked at God’s good creation and my heart has been blown away—or blown open.
In his writings, Plato said that contemplating and wondering at the cosmos leads the soul to God because all of creation is a reflection of the beauty of the Divine. When we wonder at creation and are charged with the glory of God through it, our soul transcends time and space. We are totally present to the moment. Wonder transports us to the deep.
“Teach Me, God, to Wonder” (VU 299), the song goes.
Wonder is a portal to the Divine. Maybe that’s why Jesus talked about the extraordinariness of seemingly ordinary things. Why he took bread and turned it into communion. Why he took fish and turned it into revelation. Why he took a cross and turned it into redemption. Why he took a child—and all of the wide-eyed amazement that filled the child—onto his knee and said “For it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs” (Matthew 19: 14). Why he gathered a group of people like you and me together and called us disciples.
Teach me, God, to wonder. That’s my prayer.
Yearning to wonder for me isn’t escapist. It’s not about escaping my inbox, my to-do list, my housekeeping. Sigh. It’s about being faithful. I want to wonder so that I can be more engaged. How can any of us love something we don’t wonder about? We are never moved to care about something we keep at arm’s length.
Psalm 104 not only wonders at the creativity of God but it connects God’s creativity with our own ability to be creative. The psalm says that God causes the plants to grow and we cultivate them. We make the wine and bread and oil. It’s a team effort. We are united with God in a mission to cultivate the wonder. To ensure the world is wonder-full. To resist diminishing wonder by putting a price on it, restricting it, harming it, polluting it.
Teach us God, to wonder.
When we join with God’s mission in our personal lives, together as a congregation and as a worldwide church, we are saying that the beauty, bounty, and peace in the picture Psalm 104 paints—the waters flowing through the mountains and the valleys, the teams of fish swimming, the animals drinking off to the side, the birds singing while they circle, the cattle in the distance grazing, the people working together making bread and oil—is for everyone.
Why? Because Psalm 104 and all the scripture we hear aren’t just quaint words we can imagine hung on a wall. They represent a vision for our lives and for the world.
God’s wonder is for everyone. Teach us, God, to wonder.
Verse 31 of Psalm 104 reads: “May the glory of the Lord endure forever; may the Lord rejoice in his works.”
You get the sense here of how deeply the psalmist longs for God, the divine artist, to sit back from the canvas of the world and say “Yes! This is how I envisioned it. Yes! It is good. It is very good.”
On the seventh day, the story goes, God rested. But then what? Well, we know how artists roll. Michelangelo didn’t stop at the Pieta. He went on to create David. After Da Vinci’s Last Supper there was the Mona Lisa.
Artists never stop creating. It’s in their bones.
Likewise, God never stops creating. God’s spirit beckons us into other wonder-filled visions of the world. Dreams of lions lying down with lambs, of promised lands, of a new heaven and new earth. Wonder upon wonder to stir our hearts.
Allow yourself to be wonder-struck. Allow your heart to be stirred by the beauty of God. Allow your wonder to transport you to the deep places where the waters of mission baptize, cleanse, and refresh you to live your mission.
Let God teach you to wonder.
There’s wonder to realize. Wonder to actualize. Wonder to share.
There’s wisdom in the sharing. Amen.