By Jim Tune
In his book The Melody of Faith: Theology in an Orthodox Key, Vigen Guroian speaks of God as someone more like a musician than a manager, more like an artist than an accountant. He writes: “God is more like a cantor who chants his Creation into existence and rejoices everlastingly over its beautiful harmony. His song continues, and its melody moves and inspires humankind to restore beauty and harmony to a Creation that is fallen and misshapen.”
I love the sense of wonder Guroian’s words evoke in my heart. Wonder seems to be in ever short supply these days. Occasionally we allow ourselves to recognize it when we experience an awe-inspiring sunset, an artistic masterpiece, or a newborn baby.
All too frequently my experience on my faith journey has suffered from a poverty of wonder. Wonder Deficit Disorder is spreading through our culture at an alarming rate.
Little boys and girls live in wonder world. A child with a backyard and a little imagination can wonder away for hours. An ant crawling across a blade of grass, a puddle in the street, a fire engine—they all have more than enough mystery to evoke wonder. In my world, the backyard is little more than a lawn to be mowed.
Pink Floyd’s song “Comfortably Numb” from their album The Wall is a kind of requiem about the loss and pain we bring upon ourselves and others around us when we’ve lost the capacity to feel.
I’ve heard Ravi Zacharias refer to the attitude of tedium or indifference as a kind of disease not dissimilar to leprosy. Leprosy is a form of nerve damage that brings on an inability to feel. That’s why it’s such a devastating disease. All the damage that disfigures the leper is self-inflicted. The leper hurts himself because he has lost the capacity to feel. When we lose the feeling of wonder, life gets hard. Faith becomes a chore. And God becomes an accountant instead of an artist.
Despite the modern assault on art and beauty, the hunger for beauty abides deep in the human heart. The question too often asked in our churches is, “Does this work?” What if, instead, we asked, “Does this reflect the wonder of the gospel or the beauty of Christ?”
A sense of wonder is part of the reason we are inspired by a classical poem or symphony. We savor the poem and the complexity of the orchestra. We will even work to experience it. But we consume Harlequin romances, soap operas, and pulp fiction. I wonder . . .