28
Mar
08

A sense of wonder

This week’s quote comes from the ancient church father Gregory of Nyssa who said this interesting and deep sentence that has been challenging me ever since I read it a few months ago. He said:

Concepts create idols, only wonder grasps anything
 
Some readers might be thinking “bum, bum…..I have no clue what this fella is talking about..”. Let me try to unpack it a little bit though not too much, because then I haven’t understood the wisdom of the quote either….
 
The idea is, as far as I can see, that far too often we end up making idols out of the different ideas we find important. We tend to explain things so much and write books (and series of books) so that the idea ends up disappearing in the midst of it. An example could be love. Who can explain love between two human beings? It’s a mystery, it’s a wonder, and yet scores of authors and song writers have tried to explain love, and the sentence “I love you” have been watered down because it’s used about anything from a favorite color to a spouse. The wonder of love disappears if you try to put it in a formula. The same thing applies to grace. If you think you have figured out God’s grace, you are destroying the mystery and the wonder of it. God’s grace towards us is truly Amazing Grace
  
When I meet people who are madly in love with Jesus, and I’ve had the privilege of meeting a few of those, I am instantly attracted to them and to Jesus. They can’t explain what’s so awesome about Jesus, but on the other hand they can’t stop talking about him. They are in awe of Jesus. They see the wonder, the mystery, the miracle of Jesus. They want to capture it, but they know they can’t, so they just share freely what they see of Jesus while always wanting to see and experience more. That’s wonder. That’s understanding that the greatest things in life can’t and shouldn’t be put in a formula.
 
I have been challenged by this quote because as a teacher I’m always tempted to make concepts out of the things I’m excited about. This last year has been so much about Identity in Christ for me. I have learned some about it, and I want to learn more about this mystery that a union took place between Christ and me. That Christ is in me, and I am in him. It’s a mystery, it’s something to wonder about. And yet, it’s tempting to put it in a formula, write it down to some simple sentences, write some books on “10 steps to understand your identity in Christ” – but the minute I do that, I have misunderstood the mystery of my Identity in Christ! I am heading towards making an idol out of something that was never meant to be able to be explained so it would make complete sense with my mind. It’s a matter of revelation (Ephesians 1:17), and it’s all dependent on God! 
 
I hope and pray that I won’t lose my sense of wonder when it comes to thinking about my identity in Christ. I hope I will continue to be in awe and to celebrate the wonderful mystery of Christ in me. 
 
What makes you, dear reader, wonder? What do you stand in awe of?
 
Torben – have a lovely weekend! 
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