Posts Tagged ‘wonder’

I Wonder

My friend and mentor Andrew Norton passed away last week aged 61 years.

Andrew was a preacher, priest, prophet, photographer and poet, who embraced life, faith, family, friends and work with keen perception and vigorous passion.

He leaves us all with an amazing legacy. No word, not even poetry can describe how thankful I was to have him in my life and how much I will miss him.

I had one last coffee with him in Auckland in April this year.  We had been meaning to catch up for sometime, and I am so glad we met this one last time.  I remember my conversation with Andrew – his intense listening, his comfort with long silences, and how he always answered my questions with more questions.  He thanked me for making the effort to catch up and how my perseverance had meant we were able to meet one last time.  He told me how he had paused recently to take a photo of a magnolia flower and then just spent some time noticing the design of the magnolia.


Last Friday I attended the celebration of his life. His family described his passing in a way that was so unique to his life and calling:

Our mighty Totara has today fallen into the arms of the Great I Am

The Totara is a native NZ tree, and my friend Andrew was as mighty and present as a great tree.

While Andrew was suffering with cancer he wrote a short book on his reflection on the grace and gift of dying. His family gave us each a copy of the book – Turn to Wonder, as his final gift to us. 

Arohanui and farewell, for now, Andrew – my friend and mentor.

In response to his well lived life I wrote this poem for him:

I Wonder

When the weight
Of the world
Fills too much of my head
I turn to Wonder

When my head is
Too full of worries
Doubled by fear
I turn to Wonder

When my friend I
Had our last coffee with
Is no longer with us
I turn to Wonder

For in Wonder I see
A new Heaven and Earth
That empties my worries
And fears of the future

For in Wonder I will
See my friend again
And we will trade answers
To his great questions

Of life and death
Of loss and gain
Of solemnity and grace
Of Awe and Wonder

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What is it about a sunset?  Why do we gaze expectantly at sunsets?  There are two really  interesting things about sunsets, they are always spectacular and they are always different.  There is a sense of wonder and awe when we look into a sunset.  We never really look at a sunset – we are often drawn in. Something or someone is calling us, reminding us that there must be more, so much more.  Is this just what we hope for and just cannot see?  Either way most people would agree that sunsets are a thing of awe, beauty and wonder.

When I admire the wonder of a sunset or the beauty of the moon, my soul expands in worship of the Creator ~ Mahatma Gandhi

I wonder then why we so quickly forget these moments of wonder and beauty?  Life has a way  of turning these sunsets into forgotten overcast memories.  As we grow up and grow old I think we can forget to wonder, look for wonder and experience it.

Perhaps wonder is God’s way of tapping us on the shoulder and getting our attention. Perhaps a sunset is God’s way of distracting us, and getting us to rediscover something – something buried and forgotten in the mists of life. Something important and critical.

Wonder demands questions of us. Questions like, What are you trying to teach me here?  What issues in my heart are you trying to raise through this?  What is it you want me to see?  What are you asking me to release and let go of?  Wonder asks us to respond.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. ~ Ecclesiastes 3:11

Wonder can also be captured, reproduced and repackaged.  Just walk into your favourite store and someone will try to sell it back to you.  How many pictures of sunsets have you taken?  Not really the same as the real thing is it? There is no accountability in a photo of a sunset.

So what to do with wonder?  Lately I’ve been challenged to re-discover wonder and just be thankful for the things that I have.  Perhaps wonder just needs to be enjoyed in the present moment.  It may just be about being present in the wonder.  Hard to do, but important.  Next time you set the sun set – see it change colour, experience the wonder and notice what this does to you, for you.

This week may you rediscover wonder, be present, if only for a moment and let it speak to your soul. There may be something you need to hear, something you need to see.

Rediscovering wonder

May you rediscover wonder
In the sunset of your years
May you choose to cling to hope
In the twilight of your fears

May you rediscover wonder
In the worship you have sung
May it remind you of your creator
Like in the days when you were young

May you rediscover wonder
Let it heal the hurts you hold
May you also forgive yourself
Before you grow too old

May you rediscover wonder
Let it flood your aching soul
Will you let His love astound you?
Will you let Him make you whole?

May you rediscover wonder
May it release you from your fear
May you rediscover beauty
In the twilight of your years

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No Wonder?

Since departing Mars Hill Church in Grand Rapids,  and relocating to Los Angeles, I haven’t heard a lot from author and poet Rob Bell.  Last week he released a new video, reminiscent of his Nooma series.

In this video Rediscovering Wonder, we find Rob Bell strolling through some back alleys in what could be his local neighbourhood.

One of the interesting points about the video, though, is that it seems to be a direct response to his critics. Since the release of Love Wins in early 2011, Bell has sustained several attacks by his critics. The constant criticism leveled at the book Love Wins brought with it accusations by some of heresy, including claims of universalism and complete rejection of classic Christianity. I bet most of these people had never read the book.

While I didn’t necessarily agree with all his points in Love Wins, what I do recognise is that Rob Bell has an exceptional gift in communicating in person, through video and in the written form.  He is without doubt one of the most brilliant communicators of all time.

The last time I read of such criticism, and calls for heresy was probably in the Bible – just before Pilate decided that Jesus should be crucified.  Interesting isn’t it?

Whatever your views of the work of Rob Bell, this video clip challenges us to rediscover our sense of wonder and awe.

I’m not even going to try to come up with a poem this week on wonder.  There is no need.  This video about wonder and awe is pure and simple poetry in motion.

So what about you my friend?  What is your response?  What will you do differently to embrace wonder and awe?  Here or somewhere this week share your story.  It may just help someone rediscover wonder.

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