Thursday, September 03, 2015

Revel in Wonder

It has been several months since I posted about *revel*, my 2015 word of the year.

That doesn't mean I haven't thought about it.

In April, I thought about writing Revel in Rest after the convention. Karen from living, unabridged recommended that.

In May, I didn't think about much of anything because I got sick.

In June, I considered writing about 'Revel on the Way' because our Associate Pastor has been preaching through Mark and emphasizing the life of the disciple walking on the way with Jesus. If you read closely in Mark, Jesus and the disciples are always setting out on the way.

In July and August, I realized that going back into June - and before - I kept posting about Wonder.

I was talking with Mystie recently and she said "Wonder really goes with *revel*, doesn't it?"  Yes, yes it does. And, really, all of those ideas ... rest, the way, and Wonder all go together to build *revel*.

Let's think back, lo these many months, on the definition of *revel*: "to take great pleasure or delight."  In June, I wrote this:
To *revel* must certainly start with a sense of Wonder. When we find deep joy and satisfaction in something we wonder. Can we *revel* without a sense of wondering at the good, the true, the beautiful? I think that's an idea I'd like to consider more deeply. I like the idea that to *revel* is to go beyond the prosaic and see mountain streams of Wonder and truth.
Let's ponder.

The word Wonder can be used as a noun, adjective, verb, and adverb.

Wonder is a marvel, a thing that astounds us. It is a thing which causes us to pause and contemplate.  A Wonder can be concrete - a beautiful place, an ant, a person. A Wonder can be abstract - an action, gravity, God's love.

Something wonderful or wonderous is splendid, worthy of considering, amazing, divine.  When we use the term wonderful we are praising it.  Sometimes we are announcing awe or astonisment that it could be true.

We can actively Wonder. I wonder when dinner will be ready (I suppose I ought to cook it!) I wonder if this tree will survive the winter. I wonder how God measures the seas.  It isn't always just a question, either. When I express awe at - when I Wonder at - the creation, I'm not simply questioning the hows and whys and wherefores but I respect, drop my jaw, yea *revel* in God and what he has wonderfully (adverb!) made. That adverb pulls all these senses together.

I've been thinking a lot about Jain and Clark's spiraling paradigm - Brandy called it the 4 Ws last week - of Wonder, Work, Wisdom, Worship.  I'm pretty sure the spiral begins with Wonder.  This is the joy of childhood.  What is that? Why? How? Children express their Wonder - in both the noun and the verb - as they question the world around them. They are intrigued by the marvel and they want to know about it. As we age, we seem to lose this. And sometimes, as parents, we kill this sense of wondering.

Martin Cothran wrote about children's wonder in this old article, The Rhetoric of Amazement: What children's literature tells us about the world

Anthony Esolen talks about this in his book 10 Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child :
If we loved children, we would have a few. If we had them, we would want them as children, and would love the wonder with which they behold the world, and would hope that some of it might open our own eyes a little.
The question is can we recapture it?

I want to learn to *revel* in this amazing life God has given me. He has shown me many marvels, many Wonders, and I have glimpsed but few.  If I want to *revel*, I have to pay attention and become as a little child who seeks the Wonders which start the spiral toward worship.

We Wonder, then we Work, put in effort to gain knowledge and fear of the Lord which is, of course, the beginning of Wisdom and this increase of Wisdom causes us to Worship which feeds back into Wonder of God's character, being, creation, providence ... this paradigm is naturally, restfully walking along the way in discipleship.

Let Us Love and Sing and Wonder by John Newton

1 Let us love, and sing, and wonder,
Let us praise the Savior's name!
He has hushed the law's loud thunder,
He has quenched Mount Sinai's flame. 
He has washed with his blood,
He has brought us nigh to God.


2 Let us love the Lord, who bought us,
Pitied us when enemies;
Called us by his grace, and taught us,
Gave us ears, and gave us eyes.
He has bought us with his blood,
He presents our souls to God.


3 Let us sing, though fierce temptations
Threaten hard to bear us down!
For the Lord, our strong salvation,
Holds in view the conqueror's crown,
He who washed us with his blood,
Soon will bring us home to God.


4 Let us wonder, grace and justice
Join and point to mercy's store;
When we trust in Christ our fortress,
Justice smiles, and asks no more.
He who washed us with his blood,
Has secured our way to God.


5 Let us praise and join the chorus
Of the saints enthroned on high;
Here they trusted him before us,
Now their praises fill the sky.
"You have washed us with your blood,
You are worthy, Lamb of God!"

Let's *revel* in that.

12 comments:

  1. I think God is so good to give us children to remind us to wonder! Jesus even used the example of a child to remind the disciples what His kingdom is like! Humbling!!!

    I love you circle chart but I think your arrows need to point both ways. Because sometimes working leads me to wonder. And wisdom leads me to work. And worship leads to wisdom. And wonder leads to worship. :)

    This is really GREAT thoughts & things to wonder about. ;) Seriously- if we can revel moment by moment in our Lord, what a change in our lives, families & cultures!!! Now off to think how I, as the parent, may be standing in my children's way of wondering. This ones tricky- how do we lead (bc God calls us to train our children!) without crushing them?

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    1. The way you talk about it, maybe every word ought to point at every other word, an interconnected web? Like the one prairiegirl observed below!

      Parenting brings so many opportunities for repentance and purposeful decisionmaking, doesn't it?

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  2. Oh, Dawn, this is wonderful! As my kids have grown into teens, we have lost the purity of wonder. Last year was a drudge for me, I think it was the worst year of our homeschooling experience. I am determined to instill wonder, work, wisdom and worship into this coming school year. Last night, as I was delivering supper to my husband (he was harvesting our wheat crop,) I noticed, dotted across the field, huge cobwebs with an open hole in the middle. The hole led underground. Out of one of the cobwebs came the largest spider I have ever seen. I just sat there and watched in wonder at the movings of the spider and the beauty of his web. I want that same kind of wonder sprinkled throughout our days during this year. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and words. :)

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    1. What a beautiful (even if it was about spiders [shudder]) story! I hope to think about things like that more often. It's hard in suburbia when you stay inside a lot. I think Ravi Jain talked about it a lot in his post at Brandy's today - that natural history of observing nature bringing about wonder. Lovely.

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  3. I have a lot of blogs to catch up on. I haven't read Brandy's post yet, but I can clearly see how this cycle of life works in my own life. Looking forward to reading all the posts I have missed. You haven't said anything, so I hope you are feeling better. xo

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    1. I am feeling much better, thank you! Really, by the end of May, I felt back to normal and our two summer vacations really helped me rest. Now I'm working to actively improve my physical health rather than ignore it.

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  4. I think Jars of Clay might have done a version of that hymn!

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    1. Oh, they do. and it is lovely, although I keep coming back to an organ 4-part version in my head.

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  5. I've been considering the meaning and implications of "wonder" ever since Leila boiled down our parenting/homemaking task to cultivating "order and wonder" a year or two ago. I realized then that I naturally have a lot of order but not necessarily a lot of wonder--but the two really do work together so perfectly to balance home life, spirituality, child-rearing, education, and all the rest. I took that duo then as my kind of mission and haven't really stopped thinking about it since then--I just think it's so close to CM's idea of education as an atmosphere, discipline, and life.

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    1. That's really fascinating, Celeste. I only read her sometimes. It's interesting to me how we can pinpoint ideas coming to the forefront. I was looking back in my blog and as early as 2010, I found posts talking about wonder, but it wasn't until The Liberal Arts Tradition that it became almost a compulsion to dig deeper and think more.

      I'll have to find that Order & Wonder post. Thanks!

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