Awe, Wonder, & Joy

Dearly Beloved,

I have been missing you all! I write from my dining room. Though I am feeling ever so much better, Ezra has tested positive for COVID, and so he and I are isolating at home while Darryl and Cora stay with some friends. Thank you so much for your prayers and the time to heal last week. I'm especially grateful to Staci who helped coordinate this and Nikki Glantz and Paul Heintzleman who led a beautiful service (I got to watch post-facto on Facebook Live). 

I'm not even sure where to begin. 

Every time I reflect on the high school mission trip to Newport Beach, I am overwhelmed by awe. Awe at God's creation -- the beauty, intricacy and whimsy of creaturely existence. Awe at the ocean -- did you know that the oxygen in two of every three breaths you take comes from the oceans and its oceanic plankton?

I'm  in awe of our young people -- their wisdom, the depth of their spirits, their questions, their sense of purpose, responsibility and fun! Mya, Jeslyn and Chloe opened their hearts and lives to new people, friendships and indeed God's creation and the ocean as did Samantha, Daniel and Kate -- the three youth from Heart of the Rockies Christian Church with whom we went. And I'm in awe of our chaperones who gave a week out of their lives to help our youth have this experience, to guide them, keep them safe and love them well. 

Yes, I'm in awe.

And that awe, that wonder, that joy are radical acts of resistance in a world fraught with war, struggling to catch up with the reality of climate crisis, a world selling escape and denial at every turn. That awe, that wonder and that joy are radical acts of resistance in a nation fraught with social division, partisan gridlock and a desire to consume our way out of suffering. It especially feels like an act of radical resistance today, on the 10th anniversary of the Aurora theater shooting when gun violence in our nation is worse than ever. 

This is why I need all of you. Why I need my faith. Why I need church. You help me to embrace awe, wonder and joy not while ignoring suffering (others' or our own) but while acknowledging it. After all, guilt, shame and fear will not inspire us to change. Awe, wonder and joy will. Love will move us to collective transformation -- the knowledge that we are loved. That we belong. That we are part of something bigger than ourselves. Church is a space, a community, in which we acknowledge (and lament!) suffering, grief, and fear AND where we can be in awe -- in awe of God's amazing creation, in awe of the people around us, in awe of music that takes our breath away, in awe of love that will not let us go. 

So, I hope to see you on Sunday for a double dose of awe, wonder and joy as we worship together at Namaqua Park and then share a picnic afterwards. Bring a lawn chair and your own lunch! See you there.

With love and peace,
Thandiwe