On Easter Tuesday, Where Is Your Microcosm of Awe and Hope?
One of the benefits of my assignment as Pastor to the Niagara Falls-Lewiston Congregation, was the opportunity to spend time at Niagara Falls itself, in awe. The mist is always there. The mist rises like an aria of hope. It reassures us that even though life may lead to a huge fall, a pounding landing into the waters below, the mist appears, it captures the light, whatever light there is and it reassures us that hope is ascendant.
Paul’s letter to the Romans offers these words of hope: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13).
What does it mean to “abound in hope”? If we refer to God as a God of hope, then does abounding in hope mean dwelling in that quality of God that is hopeful, affirming, positive, optimistic, and future-oriented?
What can you do today to become hopeful? Can you call that friend or mentor upon whom you always rely for a spiritual boost and support? Can you read that favorite author who brings you more closely into God’s reassuring presence? Can you reflect on a wonder of nature to bring you into God’s presence?
Sometimes when reflecting on the wonders of nature we try to focus on an entire scene. It can be a lot to take in. At Niagara Falls the mist rises and envelops a large area. But in the winter time the mist can quickly fall back to earth as snow. I shall never forget putting my hand out and seeing a single snowflake descending from the mist and alighting upon my glove. That microcosm of awe offers a proportion of hope that is completely asymmetrical to the size of the snowflake. In a single tiny snowflake, a flower, a butterfly, a grain of sand, we can find the awe that offers truly awesome hope. What then of the entire scene, the massive ecosystem of wonder that we are a part of everyday? How much more is the hope generated by a creative God who has created billions upon billions of these awe-filled scenes each in turn filled with a billion tiny microcosms of hope.
Where will your journey lead you today? What microcosm of hope will you pause to notice? How will it shape your awareness of the hope that is in nature all around us?
Our hope in Christ is like that. Sometimes we feel the awe that induces hope and we think we have experienced the hope of Jesus Christ. But this is just a microcosm of what is available to us. Take in the whole sunset of awe that leads to awareness of the universal Christ. My hope, your hope, hope for all the world. Anyone who dares to look at the snowflake can partake in that hope. Anyone who opens their heart to the good news of Jesus Gospel today is in a microcosm of hope that can lead to an unending lifetime of hope.
Spiritual formation is like the transformation from mist to snowflake. You can literally see the water fall, the mist rise, the snowflake airily descend. It isn’t something we control, but if we take time to be there, we can see it happen.
Carolyn Brock has said: “Spiritual formation is not something we do as a disciple. It is what shapes us into a disciple. It is a journey…of becoming that must be intentionally chosen…Christian spiritual formation is the shaping of our lives, identities, and responses into those of Jesus Christ.”
Spiritual Practices for Today
Take some time to observe nature. Take time to be in awe of the intricacy and majestic scope of God’s creation.
Pray: Creator of snowflakes and mist, I am in awe of the tiniest elements of your creation down to the least bits that I can see and observe. Your creative love for even the tiniest of things assures me and fills me with hope. I stand in awe of the hope that I find in you in even the smallest of things. I can barely contain the joy that accompanies awareness of the scale of creation both large and small. Fill me with the confidence to arise in this hope and become a disciple of your love and peace. Amen.
Mediatate on the scripture from Romans: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans:15-13).
Download or open the Community of Christ app on your smartphone or visit www.cofchrist.org to read today’s Daily Bread and Prayer for Peace. After reading the Daily Bread, consider these questions:
How can praying the Mission Prayer help you to be fully awake? Where is God’s Spirit leading you today?
As you focus on breathing and your breath during this Eastertide, what thoughts come to mind as ask while exhaling, What is dying? and ask while inhaling, What is rising?
Pray the Mission Prayer: God, where will your Spirit lead today? Help me be fully awake and ready to respond. Grant me the courage to risk something new and become a blessing of your love and peace. Amen.
2021 Guiding Question: Are we moving towards Jesus, the Peaceful One?