Finding the Spirit amid Wows and Wonder

Posted on Jul 9, 2015

At camp we have a tradition of ending each day with “How, Pow, Wow.” This is a time for campers and counselors to gather in their cabins and reflect on the day. For “How,” they talk about how they saw God in the past day. For “Pow,” they share a low point of the day. “Wow” is, not surprisingly, their high point. I always love it when a camper’s “How” and “Wow” are the same (especially if it’s something that happened during Christian Formation!). When a camper’s best part of the day is also the same as when she or he has experienced God, then I know I’m on track. But even if their How’s and Wow’s don’t match, “How, Pow, Wow” is a great way to pause and take stock of our lives each day. This is especially important given our fast-paced world, a world that doesn’t encourage us to reflect and consider what our lives each day consist of. After all, we’re human beings, not “human doings,” as our chaplain this week, Fr. Kirtley Yearwood, reminded staff this week, so we need to allow ourselves to stop, just be, and reflect.

This past Tuesday night in the chapel, we learned about the story of Pentecost found in Acts 2, when the Holy Spirit was given to the Church, sweeping down on the apostles with wind and tongues of fire. They spoke in the languages of those around them, people from various places and cultures, and all were amazed. To celebrate the Church’s birthday, and to give campers a tiny taste of feeling amazed, Fr. Kirtley and I brought out a cake with trick candles. A bunch of campers tried blowing out the candles, which then began to relight themselves! It was fun to see the look on their faces as they saw the flames reappear! Even the counselors were caught off guard and one told me he felt wonder as he watched on. I’m glad he shared that with me because it reminded me how important it is to feel wonder as we live life in the Spirit.

What a gift to feel wonder, to be “wowed” by things in everyday existence! We don’t need to travel back to the Day of Pentecost to receive this gift. If we let ourselves, we can slow down and appreciate the miracles that surround us each and every day. We can be awed by the beauty of a sunrise or sunset, by the sight of a fawn with her mama deer, by the smile of a stranger passing us on the sidewalk, and so on. There is glory bursting forth from every seam of Creation! We just need to open our eyes and become aware of it. As we practice slowing down and reflecting- being more and doing less- God’s Spirit is with us. As we nurture our sense of wonder, the Spirit will wow us and help us to grow in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, and all the other fruits that are ours as followers of Christ. So take some time today to be amazed, to embrace wonder, and to live in the Spirit. Who knows, maybe you’ll end up finishing your day with more How’s and Wow’s than you’ve ever had before.

By Dan Bell
Christian Formation Director

Taking time for God

Taking time for God