Stewarding the Wonder that Stirs the Heart
Nine days ago, we celebrated Easter. Perhaps at some point you felt the awe, the wonder of the day. For at least an instance, maybe you sensed the magnitude of the moment, embraced the power of the miracle and were overcome with a fresh sense of the presence of God. Listen again to the story of the women’s encounter with Jesus from Matthew’s gospel,
“The women, deep in wonder and full of joy, lost no time in leaving the tomb. They ran to tell the disciples. Then Jesus met them, stopping them in their tracks. “Good morning!” he said. They fell to their knees, embraced his feet, and worshiped him. Jesus said, “You’re holding on to me for dear life! Don’t be frightened like that. Go tell my brothers that they are to go to Galilee, and that I’ll meet them there.”
Did you hear it? Deep wonder, holy and reverent fear, only comes in a fresh encounter with Jesus. Put another way, if we are not left trembling in holy fear, we have not come face to face with Jesus.
Awe and wonder, however, are hard emotions to maintain. How quickly did the daily grind of Easter Monday dull our resurrection zeal and steal our Easter joy? While we were not meant to live on the mountaintop, we were called to be people of deep wonder and joy, and not just on one triumphant Sunday of the year.
Like everything else in our walk with Jesus, our wonder and joy are gifts to be stewarded. Left neglected, they will dissolve away like cotton candy in the rain. I think the Scottish soldier, pastor and poet Studdert Kennedy had that in mind when he penned these words in ‘Indifference’.
When Jesus came to Golgotha
They hanged Him on a tree,
They drove great nails through hands and feet, And made a Calvary.
They crowned Him with a crown of thorns; Red were His wounds and deep,
For those were crude and cruel days,
And human flesh was cheap.
When Jesus came to Birmingham,
They simply passed Him by;
They never hurt a hair of Him,
They only let Him die.
For men had grown more tender,
And they would not give Him pain;
They only just passed down the street,
And left Him in the rain.
Still Jesus cried, “Forgive them,
For they know not what they do.”
And still it rained the winter rain
That drenched Him through and through.
The crowds went home and left the streets
Without a soul to see;
And Jesus crouched against a wall
And cried for Calvary.
What does it mean for us to steward the awesomeness of the presence of the Lord? How might we live in a daily encounter with the risen Jesus? How can we experience just a small sense of the deep wonder and joy of the women that Easter morning?
I would suggest that we have to desire it with our whole heart, seek after it through prayer, and trust the Holy Spirit to work in us to produce it. The wonder of the presence of God is a gift we can access daily, if we will live with open hands and an expectant heart. God does not delight in hiding his presence from us. Instead, he deeply desires that we experience his mercies which are new every morning, just waiting for us to empty ourselves of ourselves and accept it.
How will you steward this gift?