BLOG # 252 AWESOME
The headline of the lead article on the front page of the Sandersville Progress on December 21, 1994 read, in the largest print I remembered the paper ever using, : AWESOME. The local High School football team had become the State Champs, the first time ever in Washington County history. It was a perfect season, without a loss, with scores of 60 - 0 and 28 - 3. For the championship game, scheduled for seven o'clock, the lines at the gate at three thirty totaled over a thousand fans. On the Saturday after Christmas the victory parade went through town with the team seated on a beautifully decorated open float. It seemed to me the whole town turned out for that parade. No one would have doubted the occasion was AWESOME !
I filed that issue of the Sandersville Progress with the file name : Awesome. I don't
remember being aware at that time of any specific way I might use it some day. That
day came a couple of weeks ago when I was looking through that file for some notes
from 1994 I thought would be helpful to me in preparing a homily for Pantecost.
During my search I just happened to look up and noticed the file labeled Awesome.
I had not remembered what I had filed there and opened it out of curiosity. I began
to see a Pentecost connection.
I thought how authentic and wonderful it would be if all the folks who would gather
here in the parish to celebrate Pentecost would be as aware, appreciative, and
responsive to God and the Holy Spirit as we were toward the football team back
in Sandersville when the team brought home the State championship trophy. I
wasn't out to dampen or lessen the enthusiasm of the folks in Sandersville but
rather having affirmed it and shared it personally I might ask why we felt and
acted the way we did and then ask if and how we might experience a similar
response to God and the Holy Spirit.
So the next question was how did I get the enthusiasm I have for God and the
Holy Spirit, asking the question in hope the answer to it might contain
something others might find useful in their awareness appreciation and response
to what has been revealed as God's 'work' in the Bible, now seen by me analogously
as God's perfect game of 'football', and, in the reality of creation, the here and
now of God's eternal infinite love for us all.
I went back to the very beginning of the story, the Book of Genesis. A claim is made
for God as the sole CREATOR of all that exists. That claim will go through the
entire story of creation. Whatever exists, in past present or future time, by definition
exists by the will of the Creator. The creator is responsible for it all, is present in it
all and owns it all. The claim will be clarified and tested in the unconditional faith and
trust of Abraham, and responded to most perfectly in the entire life and death of
In virtue of this fundamental claim of God as Creator it is a simple and logical step to
study creation in order to better realize the awesomeness of it all and in turn to grow
in our awarenes of the awesomeness of God the Creator. Here are a few examples
of what I have found that have made me end up thinking the word AWESOME is
adequate for expressing our response to a perfect football season but only unconditional
trust and total love adequately capture our response to the magnificence of our Creator.
As a beginning take the earth itself. Constantly, night and day it is spinning at the
equator 25,000 miles a day and is traveling 1,500,000 miles a day in its orbit around
the sun. People used to think there were thousands of stars in the sky. With modern
science at our disposal we are now convinced there are upwards of 50 billion of them!
Don't let this give you a headache, but we estimate there are 12,000,000,000 cells in
the human brain, and each of them must have oxygen and nourishment constantly
in order to keep us healthy. Such is the efficacy of our heart and circulatory system,
every cell in our body receives fresh blood twice a minute - over 2,500 times a day.
That means our heart pumps about 16 tons of blood daily. If it were not for the
amazing efficiency of our blood circulation we would need 200,000 quarts of blood
to keep us alive, instead of six or seven.
The author of the Book of Proverbs (6:6) invites us to study the ants to learn wisdom.
I have been inspired many times by a colony of ants. An ant can lift something 50 times
its own weight over its head and carry it home. If I could do that it would be a burden
of 6,250 pounds! The life story and migration experience of monarck butterflies is
mind boggling. As a background for encouraging us to trust God ( Mat 6: 26 ff) Jesus
invited us to observe the birds in the sky (Mat 6: 26 ff). As one example of what
Jesus was saying I chose the glolden plover which migrates from the northern
Aleutian Islands up by Alaska to Hawaii in a nonstop flight of 2,400 miles in
80 consecutive hours! The V pattern of a flight of geese gives another evidence of
God's wonderful care for them. As each goose flaps it wings it creates an uplift
for the birds that follow. By flying in V Formation they add a far greater flying
range than if each bird flew alone. When a goose gets sick wounded or shot down,
two geese drop out of formation and follow it down to help and protect it. They
stay with the bird until it dies or is able to fly again. Then they launch out with
another formation or catch up with the flock.
Then comes the sleeping baby. I have her picture on one of my walls here in
the house. She cannot be aware of it in her sleep but I can imagine her mother
out in the kitchen preparing a formula for the baby when she will wake up. I think
we have a parallel here with God our Creator constantly in love with us in all of
creation, and the possibility of our lack of awareness of this at any one moment
or ever, for one reason or another
All that exists around and within the seven billion of us human creatures on earth
at the present moment of time exists because God wills it to exist. It exists in the
experience of a sleeping baby only when she wakes up and becomes aware of her
small daily share of the whole. And it exists in her experience as a gift of God's
love for her only when she believes that. SO IT IS with all people and with
all creation and with all of God' love for us.
Toward the beginning of this blog I was wondering how we might discover why it
mght be that the same group of people who were so spontaneously enthusiastic
and responsive to the skill and victory of their local high school football team
show less enthusiasm for offering Mass together each week, for singing in
church, for sharing and living out their Baptismal covenant with the Lord and
one another in works of mercy toward the poor, and in bearing witness to the
victory of God in Jesus over evil in them, by their consistant choice
of a holy way of life.
For me it seems a key element to resolving my wonderment lies in a lack of
an ongoing awareness of the awesome nature of creation, an ongoing
awareness of God as the sole Personal Creator of it all, and an ongoing
awareness of a CONNECTION of it all with all members of a parish ,
with Jesus, and with the Holy Spirit that is personal and unique.