Boredom, Familiarity, and a Spectacular Creation
I am regularly amazed, and that amazes me. One thing that regularly amazes me is the seemingly limitless variety of animals and plants. Now, I am not special in my appreciation of animals and plants. But I really do relish the stunning abilities, habits, organization, colors, shapes, and intricacies of both animals and plants. And I, amazingly so, find myself regularly saying, “I have never seen this animal before. How could I have never seen this in all my years?” For example, the other day I saw a picture of a bright green bird whose feathers rose up its neck into this pinpoint that was well above its skull. It was beautiful. Yet, I could not remember one moment in all my life when I had ever seen it before. Then there are things apparently no one has ever seen before. A new sea turtle was found the other day that glowed. How many more things can we discover? Then add to this the exotic diversity of plants that defy description. How can we, as such small people, handle such vast amounts of glorious diversity?
In comes boredom to rescue us from a crushing weight of glory. But boredom probably isn’t the best word, because it is a totally negative state of mind. A better word is familiarity. Boredom is the hijacking of familiarity, because familiarity itself is necessary. Imagine never being able to rest due to continuous stream of newness. Our weak frames couldn’t handle it. Instead, familiarity is the playground for the curious, the laboratory of the inquisitive. It is the intermission in the drama of creation. Familiarity is the breather that your soul needs to process what you have never seen or thought before, or what you haven’t thought enough about. Familiarity is where meditation takes place, and meditation is the link between knowledge and worship, between seeing what is and knowing how you should properly respond to it before God and man. You need familiarity so that you can make the most of glory.
Think about blades of grass. They are so common we have to cut them down every week. That blanket of green in your yard is a carpet where your mind can sprawl out and marvel at the things that are not so familiar. It is a blessing and a mercy to have common grass to stroll on and to meditate.
But then, you mustn’t forget to roll over and gaze upon the grass again. It truly is a wonder as well. Perfectly formed; fragile, yet able to withstand your clodhopper feet when you step on it. The glory of God is here as well. Even if you don’t have the internet, or you can’t travel, there is no end to the amazement that is still embedded in what is familiar. Clyde Kilby said, “The fall of man can hardly be more forcibly felt than in simply noting what we all do with a fresh snowfall or the first buds of spring. On Monday they fill us with delight and on Tuesday we ignore them.” Nothing in this world should be ignored. We should relish the shock that new things bring us so that we shout with joy. But we also must allow the familiar things to be the sanctuary of regular worship; where we ponder the fullness of glory, are instructed by it through meditation, and rejoice in God’s faithfulness for making another blade of grass.
That which is comfortably familiar, and that which is breathtakingly new, should both be places where worship happens. They both have a part in the plan of God who is moving it all forward to culmination in Christ.
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