One of our pastors says that only God is awesome - and theologically speaking, he is correct!
We use the word ‘Awesome’ to describe many things, to the point we undervalue the true meaning of the word.
Because of this, it is possible to miss the immense Awesomeness of God - it just doesn’t seem to be in our thinking to the same extent anymore.
If we are not filled with the Awe of God - how can we respond with praise? How can our hearts leap into spontaneous prayer?
Here’s a silly example - today in church we sang the ancient but wonderful hymn “How Great Thou Art”, and as usual…. we missed out verse two:
“When through the woods and forest glades I wander
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees;
When I look down from lofty mountain grandeur,
And hear the brook, and feel the gentle breeze”
Ok, so it can come across as a bit dated and twee…..but we missed out the “Awe” verse. The writer put it there for a reason. His theological nouse knew that we needed to be introduced to the awesomeness of God early on, to give a foundation for the rest of the hymn. But now we see it as 'twee'.
We in the Evangelical church don’t do awe very well. We rarely make the time to just stop and say “Wow”. Or actually take time to look around, see beyond our minuscule world view, notice amazing stuff and say “Wow, God, You are Awesome!”
Before we can truly worship we need to know who we are worshipping and why.
Looking in old and beautiful churches fills me with awe. They also show me how hundreds of years ago, people expressed their awe of God in intricate pictures and carvings, and in doing so passed on to many who couldn't read about God, a vision of who God was and is: Awesome.
A colleague of mine, Graham Reed, once read John’s vision from Revelation to a group of tweenagers….. and ended it with the words “and he was bored”. (Go read it yourself - it’s in chapter 1…. but not the bored bit!)
It made the youngsters, myself and other leaders stop and think. I’d heard that passage read before, in the usual church style that didn’t really inspire awe. But Graham's non Biblical addition made me think - Am I bored with the awesomeness of God, or have I just stopped noticing?
Have we stopped seeing how Awesome God is? Let’s stop being bored and make space to see just how awesome He actually is
Reading Job 40 and 41 helps me remember, but here are a few other things that make me stop and say “Wow!”
Flowers - each one intricate and beautiful
The sea - a place where I more easily connect with God.
Storms - especially the ones in Greece
Sunrise - the promise of a new beginning
Weird animals and insects - the tiny things that make them fit their environment so perfectly.
What about you? What makes you say ‘“Wow, God, You are Awesome?"
Because, if we don’t say it…. the stones will say it instead.
Luke 19: 37-40 (ERV)
Jesus was coming close to Jerusalem. He was already near the bottom of the Mount of Olives. The whole group of followers was happy. They were very excited and praised God. They thanked God for all the powerful things they had seen. They said,
“‘Welcome! God bless the king who comes in the name of the Lord.’
Peace in heaven and glory to God!”
Some of the Pharisees said to Jesus, “Teacher, tell your followers not to say these things.”
But Jesus answered, “I tell you, if my followers didn’t say them, these stones would shout them.”