Faithful Thomas and the Wonder of it All.
The scripture lessons for Sunday, April 8 were 1 Kings 19:11-12 and John 20:24-29. Susan Yarbrough was our guest proclaimer.
Sunday, September 10, was Children and Youth Sunday. Our kids created and ran the entire service and did an outstanding job! Our theme was Wonder. All the children who attended Camp Community contributed to our readings and prayers, which can be read in the Worship Orders. The high school youth and recent high school graduates wrote the meditations, which are below. The photo is of the children's choir led by Beverly Rodgers with Reagan Miller on banjo.
The scripture reading was Luke 11:5-13.
Wonder is an innate sense that allows us to dream and be curious. Everyone wonders in their own way, but that is what makes it so unique. Wonder can take you places that you never would’ve imagined. Wonder has taken each one of us here, no matter where we came from before; it has enabled us to worship together practicing similar beliefs. You have the freedom to be curious and to question yourself and others. As long as you stay wondering, you are able to unlock doors and experience new things as you take your own road in life.
- Sam & Elliot
It is easy for us to believe that free will is something we are all capable of. We can ask whatever questions we want, we can criticize anything we disagree with, we choose what we do, and these decisions are ours. But exercise to much free will, and you begin to see your limitations: You can’t really ask any question you want, cause but you may sound a little silly saying the things you wonder about, and that would be embarrassing. We can’t really criticize anything we disagree with, cause what if someone is hurt by that, and all of a sudden, their hurt is on you. And many of the things we thought were ours to dictate for ourselves become controlled by the reactions of others. Even if it doesn’t happen directly to you, we see people every day shunned for doing things we may have wanted to try ourselves, and we then feel that we can’t. So, then what is our ability to wonder? To try things others are too afraid to try, to say things others are too afraid to say, and to call out what we feel is wrong. This means that to dream of something better, we must be brave, in standing out against those who try to shut down the dreams of other’s.
Bravery is standing by those who put themselves out in the open to try and answer their own questions. What I believe we must always keep in mind is that every other person on the planet, has a question about themselves. Some are brave enough to go out and find an answer, and others are unfortunately to afraid to. Some may even try and keep other’s from answering their own question’s, probably in fear of it answering theirs. Because sometimes the questions are complicated, and the answers are simple. And yes, your elementary school teacher was just trying to make you feel better, there are silly questions. But not the ones that have changed and continue to change people and bring us closer together. As a community of personal – scientists we are conducting experiment after experiment on ourselves to see what is right. We don’t have the answers now, and we may never, but that’s what makes life dynamic. Dr. Seuss quoted our chances of getting right perfectly: “And will you succeed? Yes, you will indeed! (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed)”.
You know, there are lots of things in the world to wonder about. I wonder what the day will hold tomorrow. I wonder when I will get my next paycheck. I wonder what my next meal is. All these wonders are just essential things that we wonder about almost every day. But one thing we don’t really wonder about is God. God is many things. People seem to believe that God is the cause of everything good, but God can also be the creator of evil. God’s love includes everyone which includes all humans, even though there are bad people in the world? We have many things to be thankful for and wish we could make God understand how thankful we are. There is one way we can speak to God and God can listen, prayer of course.
Many celebrities and athletes these days always say to the reporter when getting interviewed, is that they have God to thank. Do they wonder why God gave them their abilities to do what they are especially talented in? I wonder how people get their talents and how it is decided what they are going to do in their life.
We think of God as our savior, someone to go towards when we are in need or when we are thankful. But we should wonder more about God and when God is the closest to you. Is God always standing by your side? I wonder if God is standing right next to me and I just don’t know it. I do know that God is always by my side at all times through the bad and the good. I also know that God will always love me, you and everyone that he watches over and that we will try to all come together wondering, how can we make this world a better place.
I spend a lot of my time thinking, questioning, wondering. It can be hard to stop ruminating about this or that. Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about the future and where everything is headed. Like many of my peers I have been wondering what the future will look like, both for me and for the world. Where will I go to college? What sort of job will I get? Will I feel safe in my country in five years? With all the recent natural disasters, social disputes, and losses, my sense of wonder was taking on a dark shade. I know I was not alone in my shift of thought, and that many of you have shared this feeling. And yet, this shade seems to be lifting, at least for me.
Over the last week I’ve seen hundreds of my peers ripping out their neighbors damaged sheetrock and carpet or volunteering at local shelters. I’ve driven to many donation centers that were forced to turn away donations because they were running out of room to store everything. I’ve seen people topple statues and disrupt offices, standing up for their fellow humans, regardless of race, gender, sexuality, or immigration status. And so, although some may call me naïve, and sometimes my vision does fade, I have to wonder about our future in a positive light. I wonder when, not if, the necessary cultural shifts will occur.
Wonder could can mean many things but to me wonder means amazement. The word amazement could recall a positive thought or a negative thought. As everyone knows the hurricane Harvey was a problem to many people that lived in Texas and Louisiana. Many people that lived in those areas got their houses destroyed or had to clear their houses of debris of flooded household items. Most of the people’s houses that were hit had to throw away most of their belongings. Most of the streets were flooded and my family helped people clean up their houses and get rid of items. The amount of people that got help to clean out their houses was eye-opening. We weren’t the only family helping our friends clean their house. There were at least 8 other families there too. That’s what I think wonder means.
When I first approached the question of wonder, my mind immediately jumped to the scientific method and how the first step to the whole process was to question and wonder and form a hypothesis. Without this vital step, there would be no scientific method. The importance of asking questions is that it leads us into to progress and into understanding more. Asking questions helps us learn and develop and evolve into more intelligent beings. Without questions, we may not have electricity or phones or even cases for those phones. Another importance to questions and our human sense of curiosity is validation. I believe it is human condition to receive validation in anything we do. The human sense of fight or flight helps build the skill of asking questions. That when we ask a question we are simply gathering the information to make the decision of fight or flight.
Wonder is a part of our instinct to survive. It’s a scary thing to wonder about a world with no wonder. Just imagine a world where the government was so corrupt and anyone did as they were told. Imagine a world where no one asked: “Why do I have to pay taxes?” “Why do I have to vote for the person” “Why do I have to get an education?” It’s terrifying to think of a world where no teenager asks “Why do I have to clean my room?” or “Why do I have to do my homework?” Our world and we as people thrive off of questions. Asking questions gives us choices. A choice of who's going to run the country, a choice of which house you're going to spend your life in, a choice of what to name your new born. Every decision we make open up a universe of possibilities and therefore each and every decision we make is precious.
If you haven't been convinced enough yet, just imagine if you hadn't gone to that college and met your best friend or if you hadn't gone to that restaurant and met your significant other or had taken a different route and not gotten in that car accident. Imagine if you had questioned yourself and made a different decision. Not only is wonder or questioning important but instead life changing.
I wonder if I’ll be famous. I wonder where I’ll live. I wonder how many kids I’ll have. I wonder how many more times my favorite color will change. I wonder if God will always play a role in my life-- I wonder if He even knows if he will or not. There are so many things to question, because I am so young and I have so much ahead of me. I have so much to wonder about because I have ample opportunity to wonder about what lies ahead of me. Part of this is because of where I have grown up, and the rights that come with it; part of it is because of who I am, who I was born to be. I wonder if God knew when he made us what we were supposed to be, or if we were supposed to take care of that part. Either way, I wonder if each person who has shaped me knows that they have given me a piece of something I never would have found by myself. And this makes me wonder if the people around me are the gifts God has given me to shape myself.
I am in wonder of religion; it doesn’t look the same for anybody. Like water, it takes the shape of the container it fills. Is religion water? No. But is God in the rivers and oceans? Yes. This is what religion looks like to me. And I am in wonder of the way light leaks through tree branches and the way wind blows my sundress around like I’m a fairy, and the way a hug feels better when it’s your best friend or your mom, because I believe that God is in every one of these things: I believe that God likes to say hi, to remind you that you’re not alone. I wonder if God were a human, if God would be a magician, or a teacher, or a grandma, or all of the above. Does God tell us where to go, or just guide us to follow our own judgement? There is so much I wonder about the decisions I’ll make and the God I believe in, but I’m not worried, because there is so much ahead of me and there is more to be in wonder of than there is to wonder about.
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