A reflection by Christina Brennan Lee for August 20, 2023.
Our goal should be to live life in radical amazement … get up in the morning and look at the world in a way that takes nothing for granted. Everything is phenomenal; everything is incredible; never treat life casually. To be spiritual is to be amazed.
— Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel*
YES, Rabbi ~ as our own Gospel readings report being said to Jesus. Each day is a new beginning and, as others have said more eloquently than I, yesterday is gone, tomorrow is not here, we must live in and for today. Of course we plan for tomorrow, we must even if it turns out not to be ours. But in “radical amazement” we are called to begin again each day, to let go of the negative junk of yesterday and replace it with positive, affirmative, and collaborative joy. We are so ready for our new rector and he will be here in just a few short weeks! Let the sun shine upon us all as we welcome Father Patrick, Cheryl, and Lexie into our Family. Let us pray for them and for all of SsAM’s Family, past, present, and future, as we step into a new day each and every day.
God of gods, Lord of kings, Revealer of mysteries ~
Being amazed when I get up in the morning isn’t usually first on my list of things to do although some mornings it’s amazing I’ve gotten that far. But before I know it the day has gone and I’ve missed it. The way I’m going, my whole life will be gone and I really don’t want to wait until that specific moment to discover what true amazement is all about. I especially want to let go of the pathetic grudges that only wound me and keep me tied to the past like an elephant’s leg staked into the ground to keep from moving forward. I want to turn my face to the sun and revel in Creation. (Okay, I admit it will be inside in air conditioning this time of the year, but still I can see so much from my window that makes my face and my heart smile.)
God of Creation, so much time has passed too quickly and I want to experience this life and all that is in it as an act of radical amazement.
You have hung the heavens, filled the seas, planted the earth, and then You gave us and all living creatures the breath of our lives. Help me see, feel, hear, taste, touch, and know the spiritual wonder in every possible moment … in the moments that are joyful, in the moments when I am lost, and in the moments that are so ordinary they seem to meld into the next without notice. Grant me, each day, the vision to see the splendor, the ability to savor each breath, and the insight to expand my consciousness of amazement as my spirit absorbs and lives into the essence of You and especially of the essence of Christ in me and in every single person I encounter in every day that I am given. Amen.
“Life is a Gift, that’s why we call it The Present.”
*Abraham Joshua Heschel [1907-1972], a Polish born American philosopher, theologian, and rabbi is considered one of the leaders of his disciplines in the 20th century. He authored many books and was a professor of Jewish mysticism at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. He was a strong advocate of the American Civil Rights movement. Heschel also lost close family members in the Nazi Holocaust of World War II which gives quite a perspective to his quote above.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Every week, Christina Brennan Lee writes the Prayers of the People we use in our worship services on Sundays. She also leads weekday prayer services and serves on the SsAM Vestry. Click here to see her People’s Prayers website.