Invitation to this week’s theme:
Ann Lamott says there are only really three prayers you’ll ever need.
I thought we’d start out our Covid time story sharing with her rhythms of prayers.
This week, we’ll pray “wow.”
Next week, we’ll pray “thank you.”
The following week, we’ll pray “help me.”
Today’s passage is just one verse. Revelation 8:1 tells us of a time when all of heaven and earth falls silent. For 30 minutes. You can imagine old timey cartoon like jaws dropping hyperbolically to the floor in awe. Or you can imagine my toddler watching a bumble bee collect pollen and saying: “Wow.”
There are so many stories in our scriptures and in our lives of awe.
So many opportunities to pray, “Wow.”
So much wonder.
The word worship in both Greek and Hebrew has root words meaning “Come near,” and “Kiss.”
Worship is this act of being intimately near the Eternal One.
So often, it is a moment of being raptured into wow.
And in this single verse in Revelation 8:1, the entire cosmos is raptured into wow.
Near. Close. Intimate. Worship.
Raptured in a wow that is too big for words and so inhabits silence.
And again, this theme of “wow,” of intimate worship, is all over the scriptures we hold dear, and all over our own stories.
Sacred Stories for All Ages:
Can I share some stories of wow with you?
There was the time when God made one person and that one person looked everywhere for someone to be a partner to them, but couldn’t find anyone. Lonely. Isolated. Many of us have felt that this year. Then, God made another person so that the people could be partners. And when the first person saw the second person, they said: “Wow. This one is like me. Wow.”
There was the time when the people were in the desert and had no food. They were hungry. They were worried. They didn’t see how they could make it through this difficult time. I wonder if many of us have felt that this year. Then, God made bread appear like dew on the grass. And the people said, “Wow.” They said, “Wow. This is. Well, what is it? We’ll call it….um….wow. We don’t even know what to call it. We’ll call it “What is it?” Manna. What is it. Wow,
There was the time when a baby was born. The baby’s parents had to travel away from the village they had to help with their baby. They didn’t know how they’d help the baby be born and thrive without their village. I wonder if many of us have felt this over the last year. Alone. Trying to do something too big for one person or a couple of people. Missing our village as we try to love someone well.
And little by little animals and day workers gathered to welcome and help the baby. So many strange and wonderful things happened at the baby’s birth. We’re told that the person who gave birth to the baby was so brimful with wow that the person who gave birth was silent. The Bible says “Mary pondered these things in her heart. Wow.”
These are just a couple of stories of times people said: “Wow.”
It’s good to remember that the stories we hold as sacred contain stories of wow.
I wonder if you feel connected to these stories?
I wonder if you have similar stories of wow?
I wonder if you feel like sharing them with us, with people you are gathered with, in an email, in a text or a phone call, so that we can all say, “Wow!” together, and most importantly, so we can see one another, like that first person saw that second person, really see each other in the telling of stories, and in seeing each other, say, “Wow!”
And, I wonder if others, with you or away from you, would like to share their stories of “wow.” I wonder if hearing other people’s “wow,” will help you heart sing along with theirs, “Wow! Wow! Wow!”
Invitation to Story Sharing:
I wonder, what was a time, during Covid time, when you asid “wow.” It could be related to church. It could not. It could be related to covid. It could not.
It might be a big story. A long story. A theme that has rolled slowly out like a slow motion red carpet to awe.
It might be a small story. An instant. A moment that was both eternal and fleeting.
It might be a story that isn’t finished yet.
It might be happening this very moment.
I’ll share one from my covid times.
When we were in Eugene helping Luke’s dad, I had to leave so early in the morning to take the kids to the playground before it was too crowded to stay safe. To be honest, my heart was deeply sad on those walks. We were in Eugene for one sad reason and going to the park in the wee hours for another sad reason.
Out of nowhere came this cat. It walked right up to Lysa. Toddlers are not famously gentle enough to get along with strange animals. Cats are not famously gentle with anyone, let alone toddlers.
The cat walked right up to Lysa and stayed with her. She hugged it tight and it leaned into her.
It was a small thing, but my soul felt this sacred release, this timelessness, the eternity hidden in the tiny. All I could say was “Oh my,” as a heavy heart lifted somewhere to meet the Eternal One both in the clouds and on the pavement of Alderman Loop Road, three blocks from Bethel Park, in the most suburban streets of Eugene.
And eventually, though the wow didn’t stop, it was time to move on.
So we walked the rest of the way to the park.
The day before, my kids hadn’t been able to play at the park at all; that’s why we came in the wee hours. The park had been crowded and typically developing kids were using all of the accessible toys. So it was both unsafe for my kids and inaccessible for my oldest.
As we arrived at the park, my heart sank, as I saw two girls run full speed to the disability swings.
I spoke up, “Hi friends, this friend can only swing in those swings. Would you mind using the other swings so she can swing too?”
“Oh,” they said, seeming shocked for a moment. Surprised. I worried they were upset that some stranger was bossing them around, however gently, at their park.
“Oh. Oh! Yeah!” And they happily hopped out of the disability swings and into the other swings.
I was able to push my oldest in a disability swing with my youngest in a toddler swing right next to her.
I said to the girls on the other swings, “Thank you so much. You know, not many things at parks are for friends with disabilities. This is very special for her and her sister. Thank you. This is really very special.”
And my toddler began to sing as she swung “VERY SPECIAL! VERY SPECIAL!”
And my heart, holding the cat, and the morning light, and this sacred and small moment on the swings, began to sing in harmony with her, “Wow! Wow! Wow!”
I wonder what is a story of wow that Spirit is moving you to share today?