Staring at the computer screen trying to write an article, my mind goes blank. Hearing bird activity, I shift my eyes to the window and see a brilliant red Northern Cardinal, a Blue Jay, and a few Mourning Doves, their contrasting color made ever more vivid against the light snow that has just fallen. My mind is filled with color and action. I feel more alive for this scene caught moments before the birds burst forth into flight. Feelings of awe and delight pass through me.
Once again I am reminded it all begins with awe. Awe fills us with wonder and the awareness that it is good to be alive and experience the wonder of creation.
Awe is the antidote for the affliction
It occurs to me that awe is the antidote for the affliction that has fallen upon us in these tremulous times when we can so easily be consumed by the anger and craziness we experience daily. Craziness is part of the reality in which we live, however it is not the whole of reality and it is important to remember that. There is also that which awakens awe, lifting, renewing, and sweeping away the staleness of life, so we are infused with beauty and wonder surpassing any boundary of creed, custom, or critical thought.
Awe, I would say, is a visitation of the Spirit, opening us up to the grace that is all around us, but to which we are often blind until it strikes us, flooding us with illumination by which the moment is alive. Beauty and wonder are manifested and we, and what we see, are caught up in mystery.
What begins in a moment of awe can, if we allow it, travel a trajectory from awe to advocacy. Awe has the power to move us into delight and gratitude. They in turn lead us into thanksgiving and the worship of God as Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer.
Advocacy is a form of witness
Anyone who has read the prophets and the Gospels, with any understanding at all, knows that true worship manifests itself in works and service done in honor of God and all that God has created. Such work leads us into education, stewardship, and advocacy. Advocacy is a form of witness in which we stand up and speak truth as we seek the protection and well being of creation in its many forms.
I think our witness, if it is to be sustained, needs to be grounded in a deep faith and trust in God. If that is not the case, then our witness may very well turn into a self righteous angry rant which runs the risk of alienating the very people one hopes to bring on board in the work of creation care.
Awe brings us to the work of education, stewardship (conservation), and advocacy (witness)
The community of faith has a lot to offer in the work of Creation Care. But first it needs to be open to being claimed by awe and its trajectory which passes through delight, gratitude, thanksgiving, worship, and into the work of education, stewardship (conservation), and advocacy (witness).
Awe reminds us that we are alive and all of creation is alive. Together we are alive in God, in whom we live and move and have our being, and in whose name we are called into the work of creation care.
It all begins with awe.
Read Larry Deyss’ previous blog on Awe: “Awe Keeps Us Alive“