Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Wonder and Action

I don’t often get excited about the words of St Paul, but this phrase really captured my imagination. “God’s love was poured into our hearts.” (Romans 5; 5) The context of the words was the power of hope in the midst of disappointment.

On Sunday I gave a sermon on the connection between receptive emotions like love, joy and wonder, and action. I spoke about a jug; empty, open and ready to be filled. Once the jug has been filled, it’s only natural to share the love. If you have a heart full of love, then pour your love out like a jug of compassion.

The real pearl of wisdom though occurred after the service in a newcomer’s brunch. Several people shared similar stories. They had been laid off in the last month. Instead of becoming discouraged, they were seeing this as an opportunity. They were looking to shift their attention to work that captured more of their vision for the world.

The spiritual truth (and the wisdom of Romans 5) that perceived disappointments are so often new opportunities in disguise was manifesting in these courageous people. It tapped into what for me is part of the wonder of evolution. I don’t always know how or why life is unfolding the way it is, but I can take strength from the fact that it is unfolding. There is always more. Life is packed full of second chances.

At a time when so many of us are craving a new expression of hope, a new form of activism, my hope is that we pause to wonder at our hearts filled with love, and allow this love to cascade out of our hearts with compassion. The power of wonder-filled activism is that your heart always has more love to give.

May all be blessed with moments of love and wonder that take our breath away, and fill our hearts with compassion


Raymond said...

I got fired from a job back in 1993. I had everything I had hoped and worked for: an office on the 43rd floor in downtown Minneapolis with a great view, a great salary, lots of perks, presitge, etc. But the occupation I was in never felt right. The work was not me. Yet, I was devasted. I then became a stay-at-home dad while my daughters were young and now I am in my 4th year teaching at an alternative high school. I make a quarter of what I made before. Teachers seem to have little prestige in our society. I certainly don't have a fancy office. But, I could not be happier. You are right. What can seem devastating at the time can really be a wonderful opportunity.

Ian said...

Thanks Raymond for sharing your story.
The world needs stories like yours to be told regularly and loudly right now.

Millie said...

For me, part of experiencing wonder is staying open to what life has to offer. It is so easy, for me, to feel like because I have worked so hard towards one goal that there is only one path to follow after I achieve it. Given that I will graduate in the not-too-distant future, it will only be beneficial for me, and my family, to keep my heart open to the possibilities (and wonder) that are available in unexpected places. Thanks for the reminder.
-Melinda Anderson
ps- I check in regularly, but haven’t yet commented. I’m looking forward to our next visit to Michigan so we can listen to a sermon in person.

Ian Lawton said...

Hi Melinda

thanks for your comment. I totally know what you mean about working hard on one path and being ready to take another if thats what opens us. Thats what happened to us when we hit a dead end in Sydney. 10 years later, i couldnt be happier with the new path we took
Hope to see you in GH soon
Love to all the family