Consider the word wonder in this passage from Deuteronomy:
We cried out to God, the God-of-Our-Fathers:
He listened to our voice, he saw
our destitution, our trouble, our cruel plight.
And God took us out of Egypt
with his strong hand and long arm, terrible and great,
with signs and miracle-wonders.
And he brought us to this place,
gave us this land flowing with milk and honey.
So here I am. I've brought the first fruits
of what I've grown on this ground you gave me, O God.
It seems that we live in a culture that is not easily impressed. We are inundated with so much information and sensory experiences that we may be numb to experiences of awe and wonder. Do we minimize feeling awe and wonder out of pressure to know it all? Or a fear of feeling small? Am I too busy?
Spending time with my 5-year-old brings me a reminder of what awe and wonder look like. On Saturday morning when Will woke up, he asked me if anything had happened outside yet. When I said no, it looked like the forecasted snow might come after 9 or 10 a.m. So a little while later around 9:30 am, I asked him if he'd like to check out the window for an update. We were both in awe of what we saw and for hours after that. The snow was falling during breakfast. Will could not wait to get outside to touch it and play in it and he was outside most of the day. He only took a mid-day break to dry his clothes and eat lunch.
We each have our own images and associations with the word wonder, informed by our life experiences and our hopes. Today, as you read these verses from Deuteronomy and the fulfilled promise that God would lead Israel from being a wandering people to being a people with a home and a plentiful land on which to live, we might image what awe and wonder was like for them.
As we consider the word wonder and its meaning for us let's also remember those who are still waiting. Waiting to experience signs and wonders and land that is theirs.