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Lost in Wonder, Love, and Praise

by Lifelong Learning Staff

Photo by Matt Rich

What does it mean to be “lost in wonder”?


During Colloquium 2012, Reclaiming Wonder in Life and Ministry, Old Testament Professor, William P. Brown engaged the phrase “lost in wonder, love and praise,” the final words of the familiar Wesleyan hymn, “Love Divine, All Loves Excelling.”

“Lost in wonder,” Professor Brown muses aloud, “I don’t know about you, but I don’t like to be lost, and true to my gender, I don’t like to ask for directions. I need to know where I’m going; I can’t stand to be aimless. I need directions and destinations. Getting lost is for me akin to giving up.

“But wonder invites us to roam around, freely and gratefully. And yet there’s more to wonder than getting lost,” Dr. Brown continues. “Paul encouraged his Corinthian audience to think of him and his colleagues as ‘stewards of God’s mysteries’ (1 Cor. 4:1), that is, as stewards of wonder. Frankly, I can’t think of a more succinct way of capturing the heart of ministry. We are to discern and proclaim, preserve and share, celebrate and embody the wonders, the mysteries of God’s love and work in the world. But how do you do that?”

Brown confesses, “I wish wonder were something I could work toward. Just tell me how, and I’ll roll up my sleeves and get to work. But the thing with wonder is that it usually comes unbidden: wonder is the beckoning unbidden. And it always requires surrender. It is, in fact, a matter of giving up.

“To be lost in wonder, love, and praise,” Brown says “is to surrender to something much bigger than ourselves. And when it comes to the wonder of God, the glory of God, such surrender involves trust in the God who calls us forward, not toward absorption into nothingness, not toward impotence and groveling, but toward flourishing and new life in Christ.”

October 25-28 Dr. Brown will be Exploring Wisdom’s Wonder with a group of lifelong learners at Montreat Conference Center. You are invited to join the exploration! For more information on this retreat please click here

Dr. Brown has also written a recent article on Wonder in CTS’ Vantage.