April 18, 2021
3rd Sunday of Easter
The women, deep in wonder and full of joy, lost no time in leaving the tomb. ~ Matthew 28:8, “The Message”
I think us here to wonder, myself. The more I wonder, the more I love. ~ Alice Walker, “The Color Purple”
This past Monday, I drove out to Sand Canyon for a late afternoon walk. The lower parking lot only had one car and a truck in it, so I knew I was in for a long, meandering hike in the desert solitude. I took a long drink of water and headed up the first slickrock incline. My breath and my heart rate quickened as I climbed towards the East Rock Creek Loop. A few flowers—soft yellow, white, and pale purple were blooming. How do they exist in the desert?
After thirty or forty minutes of walking, my breathing and my gait found a common rhythm, the artificial noise of cars and trucks disappeared, the westerly wind caressed my face, and I settled into the pinyon and juniper forest beneath the ancient sandstone cliffs. All was still. I walked around a tall pinyon tree, and I heard a crashing sound.
Startled, I froze. A large mule deer stood, frozen as well, just 30 to 35 yards from me. We stared at each other; both of us afraid to move. I have seen hundreds of deer. Why did the sight of this doe, her coat mangled and rough, fill me with such awe and wonder? We gazed at each other for a while. I wondered if she was as amazed by me as I was by her. I turned to walk up the trail and I could hear the doe trot away.
Jesus said if we want to enter the kingdom of heaven become like a child. I am fairly sure he was talking about having childlike wonder. Wonder is a feeling of surprise mingled with admiration caused by something beautiful, unexpected, or unfamiliar. Wonder comes from the old English word “wunder” which means a “marvelous thing,” “the object of astonishment.”
Valerie Kaur, a faith leader and Sikh activist, says, “Wonder is our birthright.” A sense of wonder came easily when we were children. We chased dragonflies and butterflies during the day and fireflies at night. The world was full of mystery and beauty. We climbed trees and touched the sky, and we chased rainbows. We slept out at night with friends under the bright stars and wondered how many there were, was there life up there? Our world was full of wonder, and so were we.
Do we still wonder?
Mary Magdalene and the other Mary go to Jesus’ tomb. The earth shakes and there is a blaze of lightning which turns out to be an angel. The Roman soldiers who are guarding the tomb shake, and they are so afraid they cannot move. They are like dead men. The angel tells the Marys, “Do not be afraid. I know you are looking for Jesus.” Eugene Peterson says, “Deep in wonder and full of joy they are off on the run to share the news with the disciples.” They are full of resurrection hope and energy.
To experience resurrection is to live with childlike wonder. “We only have to reclaim a sliver of what we once knew as a child,” Kaur writes. We only need to keep standing when the earth shakes, the angels speak, the stars reach down and touch us, and we reach beyond our dreams. And maybe, we will hear the Risen Christ say to us, “Do not be afraid. The world is full of wonder, beauty, and mystery. I will be with you always.”
May we be lost in wonder, love, and grace.
May we experience the joy of resurrection.
Blessings, peace, and wonder,