As wonder diminishes, responsibility increased and the mysterious form of wonder turned into the be-puzzled type of wonder.
When wonder starts it’s exodus from our souls, it leaves behind an empty space that we instantly begin addressing with items created to entice and products that come with a promise larger than the cosmos to fulfill every need, desire or want.
But they don’t and we are left with a bunch of wonder-less stuff that really doesn’t matter in the meta scheme of life.
Have you noticed that we even lose a sense of the Divine wonder we once had. In the book of Revelation Jesus deals with their loss of wonder. He says,
"I have this against you, you have abandoned the love you had at first." Rev. 2:4
The people were doing many of the right "religious" things. In fact Jesus said to them,
"I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary." Rev. 2:2-3
Isn’t that wild. It sounds like they really have their doctrine down. It seems like they are testing people’s teaching to make sure that it is good and true. They are even enduring hard circumstances for the name of Christ…come on, honestly, don’t they sound stronger in their faith than you or I?
Yet Jesus was going to remove His incredible blessing from their midst because their hearts were cold. They had lost the wonder that comes with fresh and new love, unspoilt by time, definition and circumstances.
Two thoughts immediately hit my brain. First, it seems that all the Bible knowledge in the world, even if it is right, doesn’t guarantee a relationship with God that is alive and relational. There is a knowing deeper than knowledge about God, it is to be in relationship with Him, to know and to be known by Christ. This is a transformational knowing. This knowing can grow cold and wonder-less if we don’t pay attention, and keep doing the things that breathe life, mystery, love and knowing into the relationship, be it with God or others.
The other thought was one of grace. I am thankful for grace. Grace to me is the key ingredient of wonder. Grace allows me to come back to God when my heart has grown cold, and wonder has slowly been leeching out of my soul. Grace levels the playing field again, reminding me God longs to be in a wonder-filled relationship with us, and nothing can separate me from the love found in Christ.
When I understand grace, wonder is all around me. But that grace is not only about the grace given to me by God, but what truly keeps my mind focused on Christ is when I extend that grace to others. That is amazing, that is a wonder.
Perhaps the church at Ephesus (the one addressed in Revelation 2:1-7) that had lost a sense of wonder, lost it because their focus was diverted from experiencing and extending the incredible grace of God to others, and instead got focused on scrutinizing the letter of the law. Life, freedom and wonder are found in living and extending to others the Spirit of the law.
Paul tells us that a life focused on the letter of the law brings death, but a life surrendered to the Spirit brings life!
May you experience light, grace, life and wonder this Advent season,