Days of Awe and Wonder

From “Days of Awe and Wonder: How to Be a Christian in the 21st Century” by Marcus Borg

A portion of the Foreword by Marianne Borg:

I want to identity a few themes that await you in this book. “The purpose of a book,” suggests Thomas Merton, “is to teach you how to think and not to do your thinking for you. . . . As soon as any thought stimulates your mind or your heart, you can put the book down, because your meditation has begun.” And, may I add, then pick this book up again. May it stimulate your mind and your heart.

First, there is a “more.” Given all of life’s ambiguities and the reality of impermanence and suffering, our existence is remarkable, wondrous. It evokes awe and amazement. We need to pay attention. Really pay attention. Lest we become blind to the awe and wonder that fills our days.

Second, Jesus is significant. Then and now. Because he is one of us. He is the embodiment of human possibility. He shows us our capacity for “knowing God,” our capacity for courage, loving-kindness, and doing justice. This is hopeful.

Third, context matters. The first-century world was fraught with economic injustices, oppressive social and political structures, and claims of monopoly on God. Jesus was deeply affected and concerned about the sufferings and inequities of his day. So much so that he dedicated his entire life to the welfare of others. Jesus was equally concerned that we come to realize the nature of and the Reality that is God. In us. For us. Beyond us. Our lives depend upon it. How are we to respond to the complexities of the context of our lives? What is real? How, then, shall we live?

Fourth, there is “a way” of life that is sustainable. In brief, it is the way of compassion. Compassion is at the heart of all the great religious traditions. Each tradition is like a prism or a lens that gives us a distinctive perspective. We see only in part. Together we can find the way. The lens of Christianity, clarified and refracted in the work of these pages, is a way of seeing that commands compassion, love of this wondrous life and all humanity, of all things seen and unseen, and the unceasing work for peace and justice. Jesus has been described as the face of God turned toward us. We see not only God in his life and even death; we see ourselves. We are given disclosures of “the way.” A lot to ponder.

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