By Chelsea Gerlach, art by Justin Hall
This Call to worship was originally given on 8/6/17 at Imago Dei Central City Campus.
We drove East.
Strip malls gave way to boat repair shops, gave way to forest ranger stations.
Ascending through air shedding layers to become clean mountain oxygen.
We sheltered under a giant sequoia older than the Reformation.
We trod over a symbiotic metropolis of billions of microorganisms per square foot.
We stood agape beneath stars so far away their light takes millennia to reach us.
We listened to the delicate crashing of the river, a sound of such richness it tuned my mind to grace.
I awoke to rustling and just glanced a chipmunk engaged in trail mix larceny
hopping out of my tent through a small gap in the zipper.
Even this tiny skittish creature reminded me that this is not my world.
I don't control it.
I didn't create it.
I don't possess it.
And I cannot grasp the enormous complexity of it.
This is God's world.
All I can do with the undeniable vastness of this glory is stand in humbled grateful awe.
We drove West.
Descending along the river that widened to become tame, domesticated.
The canopy gave way to farmland, gave way to neighborhoods.
Back to my world
to my illusion of control
to the things built with human hands
things I possess and understand.
This, too, is God's world.
I might remember that
If I stop to smell the lilac that crowds into the sidewalk,
Or savor the miracle of fresh blackberries,
If I remember to marvel that, without any effort or intervention on my part,
the bruise on my knee has been healed.
The vast glory of God's world is here,
In the ancient beams, crafted by human hands to shelter us from sun and storm.
In our gathered voices, of such richness it tunes our hearts to grace.
In the receiving of wisdom, passed down and lived out from generation to generation through millennia.
In the unfathomable wonder of bread and wine.
This is God’s world.
Let us stand in grateful awe and worship.
What brings you a sense of wonder? Where have you recently been struck with awe at the vastness of God’s glory? Take a second to remember that moment. What did you see or hear? Taste or smell? Bring yourself back to that feeling. Say a prayer of gratitude for the good world God created and the blessing we’ve been given to be part of it.
Now bring yourself back to an awareness of where you are at this moment. Notice the evidence of God’s grace around you. As you breathe in, remember that oxygen is filtering into your blood, bringing fuel to trillions of cells through your whole body. God gave us life through the breath, we did not create ourselves. God sustains life through our breath, without our understanding how it works or making any effort at it. Breathe in the grace God offers you in every moment. Breathe out and rest. You are held by a loving Father, infused with the Holy Spirit, and even now being transformed into the image Christ. Take a few moments to breathe with intention, as a child of the Most High. Ask God to reveal moments of wonder and awe as you move through the rest of the day, reminding you that this is God’s world.
Chelsea Gerlach is the administrative assistant for Refuge and women's formation at Imago Dei.