On the journey – Wow

A family came back to have their second baby baptized. The older brother was about four and he got very serious through the whole thing. In fact, he cried in the car all the way home, even after having the cake and everything. His father asked him three times what was wrong. The boy was inconsolable. Finally, choking back the tears, the boy answered, “The pastor said that in baptism we now belonged to the Christian family.”

“What’s wrong with that?” his mother asked.

“Well, I wanted to stay with you guys.”

In Confirmation, you affirm God’s promise of belonging to the Christian — that is, God’s — family forever. But as a teenager you may not feel as the four year old in the story. Maybe you are getting excited about where life can lead you and starting to get ready to spread your wings, so to speak. In short, you are appreciating the ‘wow’ factor of life. And this is good.

The ‘wow’ factor is about getting excited, dreaming the dreams, reaching for the stars, seeing the possibilities, celebrating life. Confirmation, in our tradition, is about young people affirming their baptism and calling in life. You are on a journey. And today is a milestone on that journey of faith and life.

Today is Holy Trinity Sunday. Christians believe in the Trinity: one God in three persons. So, let’s draw three circles, reminding us of the Trinity, on this pad of paper here, and ask the questions: “What should I do to get through life that is largely before me?” “Is the Dream possible, on the journey of life?”
Each of us is given the gift of life on this planet. How, then can you travel well on the journey of life?

We draw these three circles inside of each other. The first, largest circle encompasses the other two. This first, large one, is the ‘wow’ circle. The next circle, a little smaller within the largest is called the ‘how’ circle. And the smallest circle at the centre of the other two is the ‘now’ circle.

The creation is ‘wow’. It’s the biggest one. It’s the starting point. It’s what it’s all about. Just look outside at this time of year to notice the bursting greens and thriving life coming from the earth. Or, whether you climb mountains or dive in the sea — or see the earth from space as Commander Chris Hatfield did — what God created is Wow!
Relish it! Experience it! It is beautiful!

And so are you. Each of us is created by God and is a remarkable human being, complete with unique gifts and talents and abilities and personalities. Wow.

This attitude of ‘wow’ accompanies us when we choose a vocation, undertake a new project, or make a major decision that you believe is a good one. In this initial stage we are in the ‘wow’ place — we see the possibilities, the goal, the big picture. It is the purview of visionaries, embodying the hope and potential of who we are in creation. It is the idealistic part of any undertaking.

It’s the proverbial honeymoon stage. It’s the best part of the dream.

And admittedly the one that gets short shrift so often. We don’t spend enough time visiting and revisiting this part of it in life, especially as we grow older. We so quickly gravitate to the ‘how’. And working through the ‘how’, without spending enough time in the ‘wow’, can often snuff out the spirit of whatever the undertaking.

Understandable to a degree. Because so often in life once we start that new thing, whether a relationship or a job, there are naturally disappointments that come along. Life is not all ‘wow’. And that’s the truth.

At the other extreme, failing to tap into and access the ‘wow’ in life, even in the midst of challenging times, can lead to living a chronically unhappy, unfulfilled life. We can become so fearful, jaded and cynical, that the joy has been sapped completely out of life.

Regardless the circumstance, we have to find a way of keeping the ‘wow’ going …..

Thanks to a couple of Anglican friends, the Revs. Peter John Hobbs and Monique Stone who introduced to a gathering at a local clergy day in Ottawa the concept of “Wow, How, Now” — on which I have extrapolated in this 3-part post.

About raspberryman

I am a pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, serving a parish in Ottawa Ontario. I am a husband, father, and admirer of the Ottawa Valley. I enjoy beaches, sunsets and waterways. I like to write, reflect theologically and meditate in the Christian tradition.
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