If you can understand it, don't worship it.
If it doesn't amaze you, it's not God—or you're not paying attention.
Look up from your phone into the eyes of another human being.
Stare into the sky.
Creation is a full blast fire hose of wonder; drink in what you can and begin to notice how much more of it you are missing.
That's why the temple in Jerusalem, and so many cathedrals since, were so massive: in the
presence of God, you are supposed to be overwhelmed.
As Isaiah stood puny in the cavernous architecture, he saw a vision:
the hem of [God's] robe filled the temple.
Humanity's greatest grandeur is dwarfed by a stitch of God's clothing.
Woe is me, Isaiah stuttered.
He was in way over his skis, just like the rest of us.
A teenager stands in Arlington National Cemetery and begins to compute the cost.
A man changes his first diaper at 3am and remembers his mother.
A brilliant theologian tries to comprehend the Trinity and throws up her hands.
An addict gets clean and tastes a first morsel of real trust.
Nicodemus feels his mind spin and his heart race as the rabbi confuses him with truth too deep to fathom.
A veteran walks off the street into a transitional tiny home and hears the rain on the roof; only her cheeks get wet.
The executive who opened the tiny home village opens a check from the little church in West
Hills, that tried to raise $3000 and then worried they wouldn't raise that much, and they were right: they raised almost $22,000 instead.
Overwhelming, mind-blowing, breathtaking is how God rolls.
Our big, bold hopes and dreams are half a thread in God's loungewear. We are in way over our skis, so we worship and quiver and say Woe is me, which is Hebrew for I'm screwed with a capital F.
In case you aren't tracking, the F stands for ... Fear.
The fear of the Lord—the Bible says, referring to the real one—is the beginning of the wisdom.
Which means it's not the end.
Look into the sky again: you'll reach the back wall of the universe before you arrive at the end of wisdom.
God has given us so much room to grow.
And God does not let us stay stuck at Wow and Woe is me.
God pushes our story forward.
When Isaiah identifies his unworthiness as unclean lips, he gets a coal from the altar and a call into the world; I am lost becomes I am here, send me.
When Paul starts, we are debtors; within a few verses we are beloved children; has Mastercard named you an heir?
Jesus leads Nicodemus from a very awkward conversation with Mom to the mindbending love of God for all the world.
God leads us from fear and despair to the ultimate courage Jesus calls love.
That's the lump in the teenager's throat as the silent, precise rows of countless headstones
wordlessly echo Jesus: No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends.
That's the tear in the eyes of a soul relocated from sidewalk to shelter, from discard pile to
That's the deep and confusing wisdom of the cross. That's the call of baptism, the invitiation of Christ, the where the wind chooses to blow
us next, the cost and courage God has in mind when the Voice asks, Who will go for us?
Who will dare to bring scalding truth with real, healing love to the world?
Who will parasail the eternal intimacy of the Father and the Son into the streets, into the halls of power, into broken homes and hearts?
We are in over our skis.
Yet the wind that blows where it chooses chooses us.
Qualifications are provided, not earned.
Isaiah didn't pull himself up by the bootstraps and grab his own coal.
The Romans didn't pay off their debts.
The Lutherans don't work off their sins, even though the earnest ones try.
The temple architects can't leave enough for the real God.
The teacher doesn't understand or choreograph the wind.
The baby doesn't make its mother pregnant; whether you are born or born again, you don't get credit for it, because you didn't pull it off.
The individual American doesn't achieve or preserve freedom without the lives and deaths of so many others.
You probably didn't manufacture that phone in your hand or supply all its content, nor did you hang the sky.
There are wonders and powers so utterly beyond us that if we are honest, we can only stutter Whoa if not Woe is me.
Yet the power behind and above and beyond it all loves you.
Loves you enough to wear your frailty, die for you, and rise again to live for you.
Loves you enough to look at your spiritual credit score and call you My child.
Loves you and your neighbors and your world enough to send the only Son to save you all.