Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Greenwood, Virginia
"Shall we receive the good at the hand of God, and not receive the bad?"
Like many of you, I’m sure, I spent some time this week watching the astounding PBS Ken Burns documentary on the National Parks. The grandeur and the beauty of the land and sky, of the valleys and mountains, and of the birds and the beasts are amazing. In addition, the story of how the vision of people like John Muir and Teddy Roosevelt and the work of people to preserve these glorious spaces is a compelling story. When we step out into nature, and especially into these grand spaces we are most often filled with awe – we are struck – awestruck – by the beauty and majesty of these views of God’s creation. We may, in fact, experience a kind of smallness in the face of the bigness of spectacles such as the Grand Canyon, Yosemite Falls, and the rest. This sense of awe and the feeling of being quite small in the face of all of it have deep spiritual and theological roots. The awe that we might feel is quite near the same word as “fear” in the Bible.
“The beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord” can accurately be translated “The beginning of wisdom is awe of the Lord.”
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