Last week I suggested that developing a sense of amazement or awe rather than adoration might well help us deepen our prayer lives because it can move us beyond the idea that we are giving God something. It also opens up the idea that everyone, not just folks in organized religion, regularly and naturally pray.
A powerful reaction of faith to amazement is appreciation. At the heart of faith is the certainty that the goodness and beauty of everything isn’t an accident. It’s the work of a caring Creator. Creation is taking place not in a void but in a relationship: God knows and cares about creation and gives it existence out of love. We, and all creation, exist because we are held in God’s heart.
When we appreciate creation’s awesomeness, we’re not fulfilling an obligation. We’re recognizing the goodness of being who and where we are. We are recognizing the relationship that we have with the Creator. Appreciation makes awe personal. For the person who appreciates, creation isn’t something marvelous that simply happens; it’s something marvelous that the Creator gives us.
To be appreciative is to know our value to our Creator. Faith sees that our – that all – existence is given not as a reward for services rendered but as an unmerited gift freely given. Appreciation arises from within a relationship of love; not one of obligation. And, as is true of all love, it elicits deep humility because it is a gift that’s never repaid.
At our core, being Christian means that we are in awe and deeply appreciative of all creation and our place in it. It means that we are never uninvolved. We are never indifferent. And while we strive to be patient, we are never satisfied. The gift we are given is beyond comprehension and we can’t not wait to live it more deeply.