The importance of wonder in the spiritual life
Started this post three months ago and just now discovered it in my draft box as the following quote from David Benner’s new book Soulful Spirituality. As I look over the quote three months later, I suspect I was thinking how little the evangelical churches I grew up (as an adult Christian) did to cultivate wonder in my spiritual life. But maybe that is a bit unfair?? In meeting with my spiritual director last week, I think I shocked her in describing how little I was looking forward to Christmas and how my advent preparation has traditionally been non-existent. I think this relates to the topic of wonder and mystery. Isn’t the incarnation something about which we should experience wonder. After reading the quote, I would be interested in reactions of others.
The person who knows wonder is the person whose soul is deepening and whose spirit is expanding. Wonder enlarges us and draws us out of our self-preoccupation. It attunes us to the sacramental majesty of the world. It softens the ego and creates space within us for awe, surprise, and reverence in the face of the mystery of what is. It is, therefore, the natural source of prayer. But prayer that is born out of wonder is not as full of words as prayer that starts with our needs or desires. In fact, it is often wordless. It is this emptiness that allows it to hold mysteries so profound that the only response to them is silence.
In what way has and does your church cultivate a sense of wonder and mystery with regard to spiritual matters?