Sunday, March 27, 2011

Psalm 95



It’s a word we use a lot. But I think we have completely lost the sense of what it means. I am guilty of this twisting of language. We attribute awesomeness to a lot of things. A tasty chocolate bar, a song we heard on the radio, a cool pair of jeans. Even hot dogs?


But really, to say something is awesome is to say we are in awe of it.

A wonderful Jewish thinker named Abraham Joshua Heschel comments on the meaning of awe and says this:

“Ultimate meaning and ultimate wisdom are not found within the world but in God, and the only way to wisdom is through our relationship to God. That relationship is awe. Awe, in this sense, is more than an emotion; it is a way of understanding. Awe is itself an act of insight into a meaning greater than ourselves. Awe is a way of being in rapport with the mystery of all reality…Awe is an intuition for the creaturely dignity of all things and their preciousness to God; a realization that things not only are what they are but also stand, however remotely, for something absolute. Awe is a sense for the transcendence, for the reference everywhere to Him who is beyond all things. It is an insight better conveyed in attitudes than in words. The more eager we are to express it, the less remains of it.

-Excerpt from Abraham Joshua Heschel, God in Search of Man: A Philosophy of Judaism (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1955), 74-75.

That's Awesome.

This Psalm reminds us to stand in awe of our God. To worship is to be in awe, to live our lives acknowledging what God has done and responding in praise. This psalm reminds us not to harden our hearts toward God even when we are in the proverbial “wilderness”.

This Lent, may we learn to stand in awe of God.

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