Friday, July 6, 2012

Miracles, Wonders, & Worship


I remember driving home from the hospital after my wife gave birth to our son to get her some things she needed from the house.  As I drove I marveled at the miracle of my son’s new life.  It was then that I noticed a heavily tattooed and pierced guy coming out of one of the local tattoo parlors.  “He is just as much a miracle as your new son,” was what popped up into my spirit.  That may have been easier for many to see when his mother gave birth to him than now, but not for God.  It is also harder for me to see the miracle in the political commentator espousing something contrary to what I think on television or the radio.  To make this even more difficult, think of those people who we view with horror and just think that not matter how evil or horrible they are, God still loves them.  The writer Anne Lamott wrote, “The mystery of grace is that God loves Jerry Sandusky just as much as our grandchildren.  How can that be?  It just is.  God loves; period.”  A hard truth to confront.  I’m more of Lyle Lovett type who sang: God does, but I don’t.  God will, but I won’t.  That’s the difference between God and me.

Standing in line at the grocery store (I have a knack for picking the one line that will have the call for the manager) I looked about me at other people.  I really looked at how different each one of them was from each other.  And I thought, “God made all of them like this.”  The shapes of their heads, where there features were set on their face, the color of their eyes, and everything from their physical appearance to the make of their DNA was all created by God.  They were all “fearfully and wonderfully made.”  As I forgot about how long it was taking the cashier to ring a customer ahead of me up, I thought of what Abraham Joshua Heschel once wrote, “Worship is a way of seeing the world in the light of God.”  So as I admired God’s artwork I was worshipping Him in a line at the grocery store. Now this was a rare thing for me, since I’m, typically and inwardly, in a huff at having picked the one line that moved at a glacial pace.  All too often I look at others with a critical and judgmental tone, especially if they don’t meet my standards.   What comes back to haunt me is when I hear my son repeating something I’ve said, such as calling someone an “idiot” about someone else’s driving while riding in the passenger’s seat of my car.  How do I teach him with my words and actions what Donald Miller wrote, “Unless your worldview loves all of humanity, it doesn’t represent the creator of all humanity”? 

Back when my son was in elementary school, I picked him up after school and saw that he was upset.  “What’s wrong?” I asked.  “My art teacher said I didn’t do my landscape right,” he sulked.  “What?  What do you mean?  Did you not follow her directions?”  “All she told us was to draw a landscape and I did, but I didn’t use the right colors, she said.”  “Right colors?”  “Yeah, I made my tree purple and yellow.”  Irritated that a teacher would critique art as wrong, I rushed home and immediately took down four of my art books and opened them.  Calling my son to me, I showed him landscapes by Chagall, Bosch, Van Gogh, and Monet.  I let him see how each artist saw the world differently and that none of them were wrong, even if Chagall wanted to paint a green goat or if Van Gogh saw a swirling sky.  Yet am I any different than that art teacher when I view the people in the world around me?  Do I view the world through God’s eyes or my own critical ones?

Rich Mullins once said,   “I grew up hearing everyone tell me 'God loves you'. I would say big deal, God loves everybody. That don't make me special! That just proves that God ain't got no taste. And, I don't think He does. Thank God! Because He takes the junk of our lives and makes the most beautiful art.”

But how will I see when we go overseas and are shown photos of children up for adoption?  Will I see with the loving, embracing eyes of a parent like God who, like the father of the prodigal son, cares not for how others sees Him but runs with overwhelming love towards His child coming home?  Do I see with grace or do I see with the harsh, judging eye of the elder brother?  The choice is mine.  There is a miracle unseen waiting to be discovered and called my child.


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