(We’ve indicated the songs from our hymnal Lift Up Your Hearts with “LUYH.”)
“God of Wonders” by Marc Byrd and Steve Hindalong (LUYH)
“How Great Thou Art” by Stuart K. Hine (LUYH)
“Love Divine, All Loves Excelling” by Charles Wesley (LUYH)
“Psalm 150” by Boswell and Papa
“Rejoice in All Your Works” by Wendell Kimbrough
“To God Be the Glory” by Fanny Crosby (LUYH)
“We Will Extol You/One Generation” by Greg Scheer (LUYH)
“What Love, My God” by CityAlight
“Wonderful, Merciful Savior” by Dawn Rodgers and Eric Wyse
Below you’ll find ideas that can be modified and woven into a worship service as a way for people to experience this practice.
Divide by three. Structure your worship service around the following ideas:
We are IN wonder.
We wonder why.
God fills us with wonder.
Invite wonder. Encourage the use of “I wonder” questions throughout the service in ways like these:
God gathers us, and we get to praise God. Encourage people to ask “I wonder” questions after a time of praise, such as “I wonder what God hears when so many churches are singing at the same time. . . .”
Have a time of lament or prayer in which people can ask “I wonder” questions as a form of prayer. For example, “God, I wonder why you let my friend die?” “God I wonder why people don’t show love to one another?” “God, I wonder why so many people are suffering today?”
Have a sermon that is highly interactive with back-and-forth opportunities to ask, “I wonder. . . .” This might take on more of a Bible-study format than a sermon, and that’s okay!
Make a Wonder Wall. Provide people with speech-bubble-shaped paper and a writing tool and invite them to jot down wondering questions. Set aside an area in the sanctuary to display the questions. Then, as a way to continue activating wonder and curiosity about the world and about God’s work in it, encourage people to keep adding to the board by posting photos or magazine headlines, a child’s drawing, a letter or poem, a question, and so on.
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, such as a beautiful sunset, an unexpected kindness, or an encounter with a truth in God’s Word that struck you in a fresh way.
Dwell in the mysteries. There are so many wonderings about God for which we will never know the answers. Sometimes our wonderings are about difficult and painful things. And yet we believe; we have faith in God. Invite someone to share a story of a way in which they are dwelling in the mystery of God.
Wonder while reading. Wondering questions invite us to think more deeply about God’s story. Read a story from Scripture. If possible, read it twice. Provide time for everyone to list as many wondering questions as they can about the story. For example, “I wonder what it looked like inside the fish that swallowed Jonah?” “I wonder if Ruth had second thoughts about not returning home?” If your context allows, invite people to share their questions in pairs, trios, or with the whole group. Let them know there are no right or wrong answers to wondering questions—and that’s okay! Note ways in which this practice can lead to a richer experience with the story. Encourage people to try this at home.
Encourage and equip people to continue exploring this faith practice by providing them with a resource to take home. Some ideas:
A smooth stone on which you’ve printed or painted “I wonder.” (See Fresh Ideas for Helping Families Explore Faith Practices This Summer for a photo example.) After reading a Bible story together, household members can take turns holding the stone and sharing what they wonder about the story. Smaller households can use the stone as a prompt to practice wondering.
A notepad to use for wondering questions when they read God’s story at home.
A magnifying glass as a reminder to stay curious about God’s world.