Dear old and new friends,
Strive to experience God in different places and at different times in our lives.
Dawn, the first appearance of light in the morning (from Middle English daunen--meaning "daybreak") for those awake at that hour is usually greeted with more of a yawn than awe. Our daystar's yellow orb appears to us earthlings as small viewed at its great distance from us, yet is so gigantic it could contain one million earths! Behind its golden beauty is hidden a gargantuan nuclear exploding sky-furnace of around 9,800 degrees Fahrenheit emitting more energy in one single second than humans have used in all of history. However, it doesn't cause us to have goose bumps!
Goose bumps are the body's reaction in which the muscles around our hair follicles contract when we are faced with what is fearful or causes awe. An experience of awe unfortunately we associate with mystics, which we are not. We encounter the common in our daily lives not the supernatural! The word "awesome" today is commonly used, especially by the young. Just the other day a waitress said it to me when I told her I thought my pizza was delicious. Psychologists say of us that are awe-deprived. This unique poverty causes the diminishment of humanity as people become more individualistic with restricted identities, divorced from others, and blind to beauty.
Awe is associated with worship, as when Isaiah in the temple beholds God's splendor being encircled by flaming-winged angels exclaiming, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Hosts. All the heaven is filled with his glory!" Their awesome proclamation is well known to those familiar with hearing it as a chant in the Roman Liturgy of the Mass. Was this awe-inspiring vision originally placed in the Liturgy as a call to those attending to feel a sense of awe at what was about to happen, instead of as a signal to kneel down? Besides worship, awe is created by dancing, music, art and small and large group-uniting rituals and the most common events of life…for those with eyes to see.
All of us need to develop a hunger and taste for awe, even for societal reasons! Recent studies have shown those who frequently experience wonder or awe are more socially involved, active in promoting justice and equality, more generous to public programs and aid to the less fortunate! To build up awe and wonder, first desire to experience the awesome and practice simple, short rituals such as:
At your first sip of your morning coffee say, "Awesome," and then pause to truly savor the invigorating brew of your coffee.
Looking upon a lake or ocean, or looking up at the night sky crowded with the vastness of stars and unseen but existing galaxies, say, "Awesome," then allow that feeling to make you smaller, more humble and in communion with all that exists.
You are in a hurry and have a green light, say, "Awesome," then be grateful that this traffic light will help you be on time for your appointment.
After a good bowel movement or relief of a headache, say "Awesome," then rejoice and be grateful that you are experiencing God in natural and healing ways in your life.
The Islamic mystics teach that the saying, "Aa-ah," after anything sensually delightful is actually pronouncing another one of God's holy names! However, “Ah" and "Awesome" are Siamese Twin words joined at the hip, ecstatic outbursts of utter delight at being in the Presence of the Source of Wonder, even if you don't have any goose bumps.