Weekly Bible Devotional
“Finding God in the Wave: Spirituality and Our Brains”
August 7, 2022
Scripture: Psalm 104:1-5
1 Bless the Lord, O my soul.
O Lord my God, you are very great.
You are clothed with honor and majesty,
2 wrapped in light as with a garment.
You stretch out the heavens like a tent,
3 you set the beams of your chambers on the waters,
you make the clouds your chariot,
you ride on the wings of the wind,
4 you make the winds your messengers,
fire and flame your ministers.
5 You set the earth on its foundations,
so that it shall never be shaken.
Notes on the Text:
Today we turn to Psalm 104 for inspiration about God’s expansive love. Praising God for the beauty of God’s creation is one of the best ways to get us out of our limited views of life and out of our fears. Psalm 104 is a great reminder of the importance of God’s creation for our wellbeing. It is an amazing poem about God as the creator and sustainer of the universe. This was the common understanding of the Israelites and also of the other cultures around them. The psalmist knew about the intricate interconnectedness and subtle interdependence of air, soil, water, plants, and animals, including humans. The psalmist also knew the truth revealed in the connection between the Hebrew word for “humanity” (da Adam) and the word for “ground” (adamâ) which means that human beings really are creatures of the earth. The origin and destiny of humankind is closely connected to the origin and destiny of the earth. The same truth is revealed in the connection between the English word human and the Latin word humus, “soil.” Science reveals to us some of the mathematical formulas that govern our universe and how connected life really is. Faith helps us to be in awe and to remember the importance of that connection. Awe is about letting God’s love and creativity as shown in creation to connect us to our divine essence.
Psalm 104 invites us to a deep level of connection to God’s creation. This is not only about our selfish concern for our survival, but it is about our love for God in creation. This is about seeing the sacred in God’s handiwork. For the psalmist, relating to the world begins with praising God. The psalmist is in awe and invites others to do the same. The motivation is not fear but rejoicing in the Lord. Praise involves the acknowledgment of God’s presence and love for all living things. Taking the psalmist as an example, we would have to conclude that healing the fear in our brains begins with beholding the loving divine energy that pulses in all of creation.
Psalm 104 affirms that God has made every arrangement and provision for the life of the world. Our call is to experience this sacredness. Practice random acts of awe! Get out in nature, breathe deeply, embrace the beauty of humanity.
Awe is a very important part of expanding our human experience. It expands our brains. Awe can help move us beyond our fears to be embraced by the mystery of God. Only deep experiences of God’s love can help free us from fear, judgment, and anger.
Here are a few quotes which can help us this week to remember the importance and power of awe:
“Awareness of the divine begins with wonder.” Abraham Heschel
“All of life—every bit and particle of experience in every arena we inhabit and at every level we have awareness—invites us into the experience of radical amazement that is a doorway to the divine.” Judy Cannato
“How important it is –that we learn the Sacred Story of our Evolutionary Universe, just as we have learned our cultural/religious stories. Each day we will begin to do what humans do best. Be amazed! Be filled with reverence! Contemplate! Be entranced by the wonder of the Universe!” Mary Southard
Allen Klein in his book, The Awe Factor:
- Awe expands our sense of time.
- Awe increases life satisfaction.
- Awe encourages compassion.
- Awe increases generosity.
- Awe contributes to well-being.
- Awe connects us to others.
- Awe increases humility.
- Awe sparks creativity.
“Faith is not about understanding the ways of God. It is not about maneuvering God into a position of human subjugation, making a God who is a benign deity who exists to see life as we do. Faith, in fact, is not about understanding at all. It is about awe in the face of the God of all. And it is awe that inspires an alleluia to the human soul. Faith is about reverencing precisely what we do not understand—the mystery of the Life Force that generates life for us all. It is about grounding ourselves in a universe so intelligent, so logical, so clearly loving that only a God in love with life could possibly account for it completely.” Joan Chittister
“To live a contemplative life is to be open enough to see, free enough to hear, real enough to respond. It is a life, and so it has its own rhythms of darkness, of dying-rising. Simply enough, it is a live of grateful receptivity, or wordless awe, of silent simplicity.” Marie Beha
“Wonder takes our breath away, and makes room for new breath.” — Anne Lamott
“Awe is why were are here. And this state is the prayer: ‘Wow.’” — Anne Lamott
Prayer by Judy Cannato:
Creator God, sometimes we are so accustomed to our habitual way of seeing that we fail to notice what is really there. Like the astronomers of old, we prefer a world fixed in place, with no movement to disturb our treasured vision of reality. Show us the places where we are content to remain set in our ways; show us where we need to be open and changed by new discoveries and new revelations. Help us to expand our awareness and deepen our love for the vast universe that is the ongoing work of your hands. Amen.