Our Sacred Stories~ Surprised by God: Wonder
What a wonder-filled gift is the capacity to be surprised. Our lives are filled with such occasions, some awesome, many quiet and simple. Our region faced the wonder of wind, rain and amazing natural power in the tropical storm we experienced last weekend. Sure, there was threat and damage, but there was also wonder in a natural phenomenon that none of us could control.
At the same time, there was the quiet wonder which may have blessed us in the midst of the storm. Shortly after, I talked to mother whose son was married in the midst of the wind and rain. As he walked his mother down the aisle in the midst of the storm, she noticed the tears that were welling up in his eyes, tears of happiness. For all the confusion that surrounded the moment, the occasion was a blessing for the couple and for their families. Wonder comes in power. It also comes in love and in some quiet moments. Both are moments of God’s wonder among us.
God is hard to describe in human language. The efforts we
make to do so always fall short. About the best we can do is to describe God with the human qualities we have, just more of them. None of this, however, is satisfying. God is not us, not human. God does not judge, like we do. God does not demand our attention, like we do. God does not wait until we ask, like we do. God does not limit love, like we do, and so on, and so on.
God does, however, speak to us. The language of God is often best seen in what we experience, in the images that are all around us. The wonder of the universe, the amazing harmony that we sometimes see in Creation these are expressions of God’s loving presence among us. The same we can notice in something so close to us as our own humanity. The evolution of humanity and the other creatures that surround us speak to us of the life-giving love of our God.
As well, God has spoken to us in the person of Jesus. This is one of the principal lessons from what we call the Incarnation. Our Scriptures repeatedly point out the significance of this wonderous act of God, as a sign of generous love. The Gospel of John has Jesus expressing this to Nicodemus, a leader of the community: “God so loved the world that he gave us his only Son so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
At the center of Jesus’s message is the image of our God whose love is abundant, who gives generously. Take a careful look at the parable of Jesus in Matthew’s Gospel.(Matt.20:1-16) Jesus relates the story of a landowner who goes out at various times throughout the day in order to hire workers. At the end of the day, no matter what time they started work, all of them receive the same daily wage. It comes as a surprise to all and those who worked from the very start of the day complain that it was unjust. The response of the landowner is to point out his generosity.
This is a parable about the Kingdom of God. There is no limit or demand that God sets to enter the reign of God. It is all generosity and gift. This is our God. Any Christian community is called to reflect this reign of God. All are invited, all are to be welcomed with the same warmth into the Kingdom and into the community, even those who have drifted or turned away. Such a reign of God is a revelation of God’s unconditional love. Truly, our God is an amazing God – a God of wonder.