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Practicing Wonder with a Group

Wonder and awe are contagious! Spend time in small groups, in worship, or in other group settings encouraging each other to expand your capacity for wonder and awe. Here are a few ideas.

Wonder about wonder

In an interview, William Brown, author of Sacred Sense: Discovering the Wonder of God’s Word and World, observed,

The ancient sages claimed that wisdom is nurtured best by a sense of wonder. Without wonder, wisdom withers. On the other hand, without wisdom, wonder tends to wander, aimlessly and naively. Wonder and wisdom fit hand in glove. Without a sense of wonder, faith and practice become routine, lukewarm, trivial.

Use this quote as a springboard for discussion as you reflect on the following questions:

  • What is wonder? How do we cultivate it?
  • Do you feel your capacity for wonder growing or shrinking as you grow older?
  • What is the role of wonder in “faith and practice”?

Share ‘God-sightings’

Spend time sharing stories about “God-sightings” that have filled you with awe and wonder. These might be mountaintop experiences; they might also be everyday experiences that pointed you to God, like a beautiful sunset, an unexpected kindness, or an encounter with a truth in God’s Word that struck you in a fresh way.

In Intergenerational Groups

Wonder your way through God’s Word

Read a passage from one of the gospel accounts (for example, the story of Jesus calming the winds and water in Luke 8:22-25) and ask “wondering” questions together:

  • What do you wonder about this story?
  • What might you have seen, heard, touched, smelled, or tasted if you were one of the people in this story?
  • What emotions might you have felt?
  • How might being an eye-witness to this story have changed your life?
  • What do you think God would like us to hear when we hear this story?

Create an art mosaic together

Art is an excellent doorway into wonder. Here are some ideas for experiencing wonder together as people of all ages make a collaborative piece of artwork.

  • Choose a theme for your artwork, such as the creation story of Genesis 1, Psalm 148, one of the miracles of Jesus, or Revelation 22:1-5.
  • Provide one 8” x 8” piece of stiff, black cardstock for each participant, and enough colored paper, scissors, gluesticks, and markers in a wide variety of colors to share.
  • Read your theme passage out loud together. Ask, “What do you wonder about this passage?” or “How does this passage spark wonder or awe in you?”
  • Turn people loose to create an interpretation of the passage on their piece of cardstock using the supplies you have provided.
  • To display the artwork, assemble the group’s individual pieces together like a mosaic, hot-gluing them to a large piece of posterboard and hanging the posterboard on a wall, or simply mounting the individual artworks on a wall with the edges touching.
  • Take time to appreciate the results of your creativity. Approach each other’s work with a sense of wonder. What aspects of others’ work increases your sense of wonder about the theme passage?

Gather to sing songs of wonder and awe

Plan a worship service around the theme of wonder and awe, or just gather a group to sing. Here are just a few song suggestions: