Awe can be a rather slippery notion for us. It’s easy in this world we inhabit to stay plugged into a life that leaves little room for the miraculous around us, either because we’re philosophically averse to admitting there’s anything beyond our ken, or simply because we’re hustling too hard to notice there’s much beyond the next task, the next appointment, the next bill that needs paying. There are many reasons why it isn’t hard at all to live small and foreshortened lives.
Church exists to break into and through this feature of modern life and shake us out of our torpor. Church is here to grab us by the metaphorical shoulders, jump up and down, and point at the moon and say “do you see that!” Church is here to gesture around the wide world and say “we are part of all of this!” In other words, church is here to poke, prod, cajole, and otherwise encourage us to cultivate more awe in our lives as a way to wake up to the wonder of the world and find our place in it.
Easy to say. Somewhat harder to do. So if you’d like, try this:
Each day, sit down somewhere and list 10 observations about the space around you, without using similes or metaphors. So, “the coffee mug is reflected in the water bottle” is ok, but “the water bottle is a mirror” isn’t. When you’ve written your 10, reflect on the experience. See what you notice. Continue this for a week or more, and notice how your experience changes. In particular, see if you notice anything about your experience of awe.