Sunday Series – How great thou art

The title of the hymn, ‘How great thou art’, says it all really. As I have written before, it really is one of my favorite hymns. Singing the words, or even hearing a beautiful version of this song does give me goose bumps. I have one of my favorite versions (by Elvis Presley) of the song saved on my computer, and I listen to it often. I have listed below, the lyrics that are most often sung. This post I am writing for my first Sunday Series post is just my take on the lyrics of this hymn and what they mean to me.

As the name of my blog suggests, I, or one, in awesome wonder, is truly me. I am constantly reminded of God’s awesome power and the brilliance of God’s creation. I often think of the world as we know it, even my own little world that I wander through each day. There is beauty and brilliance everywhere. From the skies, to the animals, to the trees, flowers, rivers, mountains, and fields. It goes on and on. I wish I could see all of this world and take in the abundance of beauty around the globe, let alone the universe. I try not to let a day go by without observing God’s greatness and taking in that moment or that sight. We really don’t have to look very hard or very far to be impressed.

There’s the obvious, us, yes, human beings, all of whom have the ability to be wonderful, even Christ like in our actions. There’s always a beautiful story nearby of someone who defies the odds or does something heartwarming that makes us wish we were that good or that persistent. Often times the human spirit, the will to survive, the will to be the best we can be, the will to help another person comes through the strongest and best, when all else has been stripped away. Stories that penetrate us to our core, the ones of sheer determination, or other worldly courage, or giving of one’s self, one who appears to have so much less than we do. How about a story of someone who’s energy and outlook on life is so undeniable, yet they have been through more than most of us think we could ever bear. These stories, unfortunately, are harder to find than the news we can find at any hour, but they are out there. Honestly, it’s not that we are not as good or as persistent either, sometimes it’s a case of being afraid to be that great. Have you ever stood in humble adoration of those folks? Well those folks were created in His image, as we all were. Maybe I am simply optimistic, because I like to believe that more of us than not would react similarly to the characters in the stories I have described, if we too, had our layers, and our possessions stripped away, as to better see the people we are inside and out. It’s easier to hide behind our stuff, our schedules, and the thought that someone else will do it. Yet we hear lines like, if more people in the world were like this hero or that hero, the world would be a better place. Well, it would be a better place. We actually do have a say in this. When your book is written, what’s it going to say? Each of us writes our own book so there’s no excuse not to have a mediocre seller that is found in the inspirational category.

There’s the weather. Wow, there’s not a place on earth that hasn’t witnessed the awesome power of weather. I know people could say that people actually can affect the weather and that may be true. It doesn’t mean that God didn’t have it right and we have made some errors that messed with the perfect balance. I mean if we didn’t have weather, we wouldn’t even be here. The awesome power and the beauty it can generate is breathtaking. Lightning lights up the darkest night. Thunder cracks and shakes everything that can hear it. Wind blows in to our faces and catches our lungs by surprise as we take in the forced air while feeling the exhilaration of living that moment just to enjoy it. Rain, snow, and ice fall from the sky, and while we know the damages and troubles these can cause, there is beauty in them at the simplest level.

There’s the earth and the living things upon it. Imagine how many lifetimes it would take to see everything on earth, and really take it in, understand it, which surely would be to enjoy it. I can honestly say, and I am pretty sure my son would back me up on this one, as he and I drove cross-country earlier this year, we really were excited about what we would see around the next bend, or over the next hill. We drove well over 3,000 miles and both of us said we would be willing to drive home too, that’s how much we enjoyed taking in the new sights. All that, and it only accounts for what we saw from the road, in the car.

This time of year, I have many times come to a place where the land opens up before me, and I, in awesome wonder, take in the colors that are so perfectly illuminated by the day’s light. Beautiful flowers are delivered in the millions every single day, yet how many of us have been taken by a single flower we came upon somewhere, at some time, and we couldn’t wait to share it with that special someone. There’s the plants our farmers have grown for centuries that give us the best things in life. Don’t most diets, you know the ones that are best for our health, push us back to eating those things which were once living? It’s probably best that way.

What about the living things, the animals that we see every day? Wild animals are a sight to see for all of us, aren’t they? I know how much time and effort I have personally put in to seeing wild animals. It’s a rush really. Wouldn’t it be similar to the rush a thief gets? I am assuming one reason people steal is for the rush of the act. Well, wander in to the wild woods of God’s green earth. Now you are on the home turf of the wild animal and you are there to steal a glimpse of this wild thing. It’s definitely exciting. I have been fortunate enough to see many, many wild animals, and it’s always thrilling. If you think about it, all animals would be wild, if we, the smartest animals, hadn’t domesticated the ones that aren’t considered wild.

I don’t know all the worlds that His hands have made. I am awful glad for the one I live in now. I have sat and enjoyed, for hours, the sun rising or setting, the stars, the moon, the sky at all hours of the day or night. I am not a scientist, and I take nothing away from the brilliant minds throughout time, I just enjoy so many things, some of which I have mentioned in this piece, and I know where they came from. That’s enough for me. I don’t need to look further. There’s the sun rise on Easter Sunday when the warmth is as instantaneous as the sight of the sun itself. I am reminded of mornings when I was a boy and I helped my dad deliver the Boston Sunday Globe. We would get up in the dark and he would drive his route, and somehow, every single time, the sun came up and it always lifted my spirits. There’s the sun setting over TigerTail Beach on Marco Island, Florida where Amaris and I were married, at sunset, and I will never forget how much beauty was around me at that moment. There’s the hours I have sat alone to look at the stars and stare, losing myself just enough in the splendor of the vast sky, that the stars appear to be just inches in front of my face. I have sat with my kids and watched meteor showers, letting them tell me how many they saw. I remember driving home from Keene, NH one late night when I was 17, and I found myself constantly keeping an eye to the sky. So at the right spot, with no other light in my sight, I pulled off the road and looked up at the stars that filled the night sky. Then there’s my childhood memory of the moon so bright, it lit up the snow-covered hills at the old homestead in New Brunswick, Canada so much so, that my parents let us sled with our cousins and uncles well in to the night. What is it about the sky that draws us in? Is it that often times the sky is associated with where heaven is located? I am not sure. I do know that the sky, at all hours of the day and night, is where I have often set my gaze, as to be close to God. To talk to Him, to question Him, to measure my meager existence against His grace, and to ask questions, many of which I probably didn’t have the right to ask, but in my insecurity I did anyways. Countless hours looking to the sky while contemplating everything and nothing at all. They say our eyes are the window to our souls, so maybe I set my sights all those times on the sky, seeking God, as if He needed any help knowing my soul.

There’s much joy to behold here on this earth. The joy and wonder are here, they’re all around us, it is constant really, it’s just our state of mind and willingness to enjoy it that makes the difference. We have the free will to decide how we see, and what we see. I need not wonder where our free will came from, as I already know. That is the reason why I can’t even imagine the joy I will know when He leads me home. Oh Lord my God, only then, will I truly know how great Thou art.

Oh Lord my God
When I in awesome wonder
Consider all the worlds
Thy hands have made
I see the stars
I hear the rolling thunder
Thy power throughout
The universe displayed

Then sings my soul
My Saviour, God, to Thee
How great thou art
How great thou art
Then sings my soul
My Savior, God, to Thee
How great Thou art
How great Thou art

When Christ shall come
With shouts of acclamation
And lead me home
What joy shall fill my heart
Then I shall bow
With humble adoration
And then proclaim My God
How great Thou art

Then sings my soul
My Saviour, God, to Thee
How great Thou art
How great Thou art
Then sings my soul
My Saviour, God, to Thee
How great Thou art
How great Thou art

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