Awe

“The stiff and wooden quality about our religious lives is a result of our lack of holy desire. Complacency is a deadly foe of all spiritual growth.
Acute desire must be present or there will be no manifestation of Christ to His people.”

A. W. Tozer

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(Francois Boucher / Adoration of the Shepherds / 1750)

Awe,
Awesome,
Webster’s dictionary defines awe as mingled dread, veneration, and wonder.
English Bible translations employ the words “awe” or “awesome” almost exclusively to
refer to the person or work of God.
While the word “awe” appears only rarely in the KJV,
modern English versions such as the NASB and NIV translate as many as six
different Hebrew words and three different Greek words as “awe” or “awesome.”
The most common Hebrew word, yare [עָרִיץ aer”y], occurs in various forms over
400 times in the Old Testament, and is commonly translated “fear.”
Both the NIV and NASB, however, often render “awe”

(e.g., Exod 15:11 ; 1 Sam 12:18 ; Psalm 119:120 ; Hab 3:2 ).
(Biblestudytools.com)

To stand in Awe…
to that which is awesome, wonderful, astonishing…
to be overwhelmed in its presence,
to be full and overcome with fear by the utter greatness,
to quake and stand trembling,
to be stuck dumb as in…
to be rendered speechless…

“That kind of worship is found throughout the Bible
(though it is only fair to say that the lesser degrees of worship are found there also).
Abraham fell on his face in holy wonderment as God spoke to him.
Moses hid his face before the presence of God in the burning bush.
Paul could hardly tell whether he was in or out of the body when he was allowed
to see the unspeakable glories of the third heaven.
When John saw Jesus walking among His churches, he fell at His feet as dead.”

AW Tozer

Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the inhabitants
of the world stand in awe of him!

Psalm 33:8

Trembling joy

Immortal, invisible, God only wise,
In light inaccessible hid from our eyes,
Most blessed, most glorious, the Ancient of Days,
Almighty, victorious, Thy great name we praise.

(Hymn Imortal, Ivisible
Welsh Melody 1839 John Roberts / Lyrics Walter C. Smith 1876

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(Birth of Jesus, Francesco di Giorgio Martini 1460)

So far we have been reminded that we have entered a new season.
A season of waiting and watching.

And somehow, somewhere within our trepidation of the arrival of this unknown,
we sense that as we wait and watch, we are to remain hopeful…
Because curiously we are inwardly reassured that what we are waiting for
and watching for…
is good.

And not only is it to be good,
it is to be actually grand.
As in life changing, world altering…
GRAND.

And almost within the same breath of waiting and watching,
we are reminded that what we wait for and watch for
is actually something quite intimate.
Something dear and something even tenderly precious.

Perplexed we wonder, how can this trepidation, which is so full of anticipation
and perceived to be not only good but Grand,
how can it be sweetly intimate, tender and close…?

So many good Christians are dumbfounded or tremble in fear when something of Christ’s
future is told to them.

As Christoph Blumhardt notes in his essay The Wise Men’s Star…

If we would only look forward to the Last Day with a trembling joy, as the Savior said:
“When these things begin to take place,
stand up and lift up your heads because your redemption
is drawing near (Luke 21:28)

But now, when people hear of it, they are afraid and shake and tremble.
They fail to rejoice in the reality that redemption is drawing near.

And so we are left to we wait,
and watch…
Watching and waiting for a most intimate moment…
Yet we are now told to be ready…
Ready to rejoice…
While at the same time, being filled with
trembling joy…

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation,
Humble, and mounted on a donkey, Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

Zachariah 9:9

Throw away the key

“Prayer: the key of the day and the lock of the night”
Thomas Fuller

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(antique lock and key / Julie Cook / 2015)

It begins as a prayer,
it turns into a conversation,
which in turn, begins a relationship. . .

Full of. . .
adoration,
praise,
imploring,
petitioning,
confessing,
thanksgiving,
lamenting,
seeking,
asking,
resting. . .

Each acting as a key, opening one single lock to one single door. . .

I will place on his shoulder the key to the house of David; what he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.
Isaiah 22:22

I want to sing

“If I cannot fly, let me sing.”
Stephen Sondheim

“Sing, then. Sing, indeed, with shoulders back, and head up so that song might go to the roof and beyond to the sky. Mass on mass of tone, with a hard edge, and rich with quality, every single note a carpet of colour woven from basso profundo, and basso, and baritone, and alto, and tenor, and soprano, and also mezzo, and contralto, singing and singing, until life and all things living are become a song.
Richard Llewellyn

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DSC00311
(a tiny wren lifts his song skyward / Julie Cook / 2015)

Sing!
I want to sing!
I want to lift my voice to the Heavens!
I want to stand upon the roof top and shout my song to you!
I want you to hear me oh God of Heaven!
If I am not soon to let it out, everything within me will explode.

Yet I don’t know how to sing.
I don’t know how to make a pretty note.
Pitch is but a key quite off.
And Harmony is all but hidden.
There is no reading of music nor playing of sweet melodies.
How is there to be song if the sounds can’t be woven and spun?

Adoration and Praise
Lamentation and Sorrow
Exultation and Triumph
Meditation and Contemplation
How may such a lowly one express such mysteries to You?
How may prayer flow aloft carried only by the wind?

I will simply open my mouth
I will merely let the sound fall out
The Spirit Divine is who will carry my tune to You.
A Holy bearer of holy song will gently sing my song to you. . .

O what a miracle

O what a miracle is the presence of the divine heart
which foretold all creation.

With God’s gaze upon the face of man,
whom He formed,
He saw His entire works,
reflected in that same human form.

O what a miracle is this inspiration
by which humanity was awakened.

Hildegard von Bingen
translated from Latin to English by Norma Gentile

Adoration

“The love of Christ both wounds and heals, it fascinates and frightens, it kills and makes alive, it draws and repulses. There can be nothing more terrible or wonderful than to be stricken with love for Christ so deeply that the whole being goes out in a pained adoration of His person, an adoration that disturbs and disconcerts while it purges and satisfies and relaxes the deep inner heart.”
― A.W. Tozer

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(contrasting brilliant colors of Fall / Julie Cook / 2014)

As the colors of the earth reach up toward the heavens, touching the brilliance of the bluest blue sky, the cries of my soul sing out for your ears and your ears alone.

In my suffering and sorrow, in my loneliness and longing, my cries of emptiness and despair are but songs of praise.

For you are both the God of Joy and Sorrow, Emptiness and Richness. There is not more of you in the joy with less of you in the sorrow. . .for you are totally and equally in each extreme journey of my life.

Even in the endless flow of tears, I praise you.
Through the breaking of the heart, I praise you.
In the pain of body and soul, I praise you.
Just as I praise you in my joy.

As I rile in fits of rage, there is praise
As I turn to run from you, there is praise
For you know my heart in both good and bad
For only in you have I been offered life in the shadow of your death

There is no pain or sorrow, no isolation or despair that you do not know
You were broken and beaten for my sake
You cried out in anguish for my sake
You crushed destruction for my sake

You are my Love
my joy,
my pain,
my grace,
my sorrow,
my frustration,
my hope,
my tears,
my peace,
my death,
my life.

Gratitude

“To be grateful is to recognize the Love of God in everything He has given us – and He has given us everything. Every breath we draw is a gift of His love, every moment of existence is a grace, for it brings with it immense graces from Him.
Gratitude therefore takes nothing for granted, is never unresponsive, is constantly awakening to new wonder and to praise of the goodness of God. For the grateful person knows that God is good, not by hearsay but by experience. And that is what makes all the difference.”

― Thomas Merton
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Isn’t this a wonderful photograph? A beautiful flower shop in Vienna, Austria, in the shadows of Saint Stephansdom Cathedral–there in what is known as St Stephansplatz—the plaza area surrounding the ancient massive gothic marvel. It is a beautiful image in order to introduce today’s post on gratitude.

I took the photograph at the flower shop this same time last year during a most special trip that was the culmination of gratitude…it was based in having spent a life-time of doing a job that meant so much but had run its course. To celebrate an ending there was the trip, with dear companions sharing in the joy, of a new journey.

But before I ramble on too much longer, there is however, an issue I wish to address on a slightly more personal concept of gratitude as a bit of a side note— as I wish to thank Prasad over on hisinception.wordpress.com blog for nominating me for the Reader’s Appreciation award.
reader-appreciation-award

And as one act of gratitude in turn should give way to another, I would like to pass this award on to Rita over on thebravetraveler.com— As I am a person who truly enjoys travel and all that entails, I have greatly enjoyed reading Rita’s blog of the bravetraverler. Rita’s stories are real life and practical. There is advice and wisdom for us all whether it’s a weekend adventure to the mountains or a trip of a life time across a vast ocean–there is comfort knowing you are not alone in your concern, angst, fear, dread, anticipation, joy, exhilaration and sheer sense of adventure.

Rita helps to make this bigger than life world a little friendlier and more manageable. Kudos to both Prasad and Rita for sharing themselves and their passions which in turn help to make us all a little wiser and a little happier. Gratitude.

I’m not good with these sorts of things as I certainly feel undeserving and rather eschew the attention. I did add an additional page on the About Me page to display those awards that have been bestowed upon this humble blog by some rather amazing bloggers, as I am truly appreciative. I am most grateful, I just tend to take the more quiet route regarding such….but there is indeed gratitude.

Now let me return to the true issue of today’s post—that being the concept of gratitude (not necessarily mine)—which is the ability of being thankful, a quality or feeling of thankfulness. The 13th century German theologian Meister Eckhart tells us that if the only prayer we were to ever say was “thank you”– then that would be enough.

It’s one of the first things we attempt to teach our children—that being the art of saying please and thank you. Here in the South one was always chided by ones’ grandmother if a thank-you note was not written and delivered within the said appropriate window of respectable time….I never really knew what that time frame really was but that I was to start writing immediately upon receiving said kindness, never allowing the dust to even settle.

Every young southern girl worth her salts had a set of note cards— along with a mother who would constantly inquire if the notes of thanks were written by the unknown magic time frame… be it for ones’ christmas gifts or the invitation to dinner by the parents of the boyfriend….If there was a gift or a kindness, there was a note of thanks expected to be written. Which does give way to an entirely different discussion on decorum but we will save that for another day Scarlet.

In the Christian faith there are a handful of types of prayer that are indicative to our faith. Prayers of supplication, adoration, intercession, petitions and of course, thanksgiving. As human beings, we tend to pray those intercession prayers fast and furious. The “please oh please” prayers…the “help, please help, I need you God” type of prayers, the “I desperately need you” prayers. Those are the types of prayer that usually top our list and sneak into our prayer time at the front of the line.

It is, however, the prayers of praise and thanksgiving that are truly more important than probably any other prayer we utter. God knows our needs before we even know our needs but the questions begs…does He know our gratitude? The answer being that since He is an omnipotent God, than yes, He knows all…. but hearing his children offering adoration and thankfulness—that is His music.

Don’t we, as parents, love and even yearn to hear our children offer us genuine thanks? Of course we shrug it all off as if we were simply doing our duty, but inwardly we glow as we now have confirmation that they, our children, really do care about the sacrifices and struggles we make or have taken in order to make certain that they, our children, are happy, ok, and more comfortable than ever we were ourselves. Ode to parenthood and of being a parent—a thankless job that does have it’s glowing moments.

So is God not our Father? He is not a parent who longs as well for the confirmation from the children He loves and adores? Any parent, worth being a parent, does what they do because they are a parent and it is the right thing to do by their children–regardless of thanks or praise. But when there is that small recognition, that little hug, that little uttered “thanks”, hearts then soar and with that magical warm feeling as “job well done” resonates deep within.

So on this new day to this new week, make the effort to express your gratitude….be it for a small kind gesture offered by a stranger, the small acts of subtle love given by a parent or child which are offered your way… or merely for the simple gift of just getting up and breathing freely each and every morning….there is gratitude to offer and express—

No matter how grim life may be, there is always a kindness which is offered–which in turn means there is always something in which to offer thanksgiving. Be grateful for this new day and for all of its possibilities.