Most weeks I go to our family worship at 11am, where there are lots of people and you never quite know what is going to happen. However, I do love going along to the 9:30 service as well, this is considerably smaller and you know exactly what is going to happen, we are going to celebrate communion together using common worship. I think there are 3 main reasons I like this service, 1. It is more intimate 2. You know what is going to happen 3. It’s the type of service that I grew up with so it brings familiarity. You are possibly wondering why I’m telling you this and what it’s got to do with the blog title. Well… the blog title comes from the hymns we have sung at this service. The last few times I’ve been there I’ve had to do a double take when singing because we have sung the word Awefull and I’ve had to do a double take because, of course it sounds like awful, and within a song of worship why would you sing about things being awful?
The hymn book is entitled ‘hymns ancient and modern’ and the emphasis is on the first description really – ancient! This word, awefull, has fascinated me since, and I’ve wanted to write a blog but didn’t quite know what to write. But over the last week the pieces seem to have come together.
Our themes for worship at school this year have been looking at the different hymns we use as part of our worship. This week we have looked at the hymn “how Great Thou Art” I have to admit this one of my faves although I know that E’s husband isn’t a fan apparentlythere was a period of time when it was the ‘shine Jesus shine’ of its day – i.e. Used all the time!
Anywho, how great thou art (I can’t believe my pupils think I get sidetracked and distracted easily)! The first two verses of the hymn talk about looking at the world around us, being amazed at the wonder of it all, and seeing God, his love and power displayed throughout it all. As part of this, with my form, we looked at the reflection of God in each of us.
When doing this I used the word great – what is great about each member of the form. In the hymn it talks about being in ‘awesome wonder’. In one of the older hymns it would have said awefull wonder. But there is no way we would use awefull anymore, because it sounds awful.
However, awefull is so much more powerful. It is about being full of awe, great isnowhere near awefull and awesome somehow doesn’t seem sufficient anymore, it suggests it could be better!
This weekend as soon it’s approaching dark I’m hiding in the living room with the curtains well and truly closed, whereas a lot of people are going to be going oooooooooh, aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah, wooooooooooooooooooow etc as they watch firework displays. Fireworks wouldn’t be anywhere near as good if they were shown in the summer or at midday, because you wouldn’t see their full effect there may still be some awe but not the full awe. There needs to be the darkness to experience the light.
The last few days have been pretty awful, but I have been in awefull wonder at the love and support I have been shown. I also know that the next few weeks are going to require me to seek the awefull in the world around me, to give me the strength I need.
But this makes me like a firework… waiting for the darkness to see the light… when the joy is that we can be awefull all the time, because the world is full of awefull wonder and awefull people – and you are one of them!
Let’s bring back awefull