I first became a fan of the word applaud and its various forms in June of 1994. It was used in a sympathy note Lou received from our architect, Ed Kurtz, after Lou's mom died. I'll never forget the line, and I have actually written it in similar notes since then. About Lou's mom Ed wrote, "May she ever applaud your life from heaven."
That line does everything an encouraging sentence should do. It encourages you and it spurs you on to be your best self. It is a powerful word picture.
So when I saw a link to something called Join the Applause on my twitter feed a couple of weeks ago, I had to investigate what was worth applauding and what I was being encouraged to join. It is described as "a movement of gratitude directed at our Creator." If there is any being worth applauding - any being where applauding is still woefully inadequate - it is our Creator. But applaud is something we can do. This isn't really about physically applauding with our hands, although I'm not opposed to that. I've certainly applauded lesser things. But it's more a mindset, an attitude of the heart, that we share with others because we love and we're grateful to the one who created us and all we see and experience. The founder of Join the Applause, Kennan Burch, further describes it's purpose:
To see people take time to pause, ponder, appreciate and appropriately respond to God for all his acts of creation. The end result is seeing people have a greater sense of awe, wonder, and sense of gratitude. And this sense of gratitude can change how people respond to all of life’s challenges. Gratitude Changes Everything.
I loved it, told my family about it, and said we were going to be mindful of "the day," this Saturday, June 25, 2011, at sunset. Since it's been in the back of my mind for a few days, this section of Acts 14 jumped out at me the other morning.
"Men, why are you doing these things? We are also men, of like nature with you, and we bring you good news, that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them. In past generations he allowed all the nations to walk in their own ways. Yet he did not leave himself without witness, for he did good by giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness." Acts 14:15-17
Our God is living. He made the heaven and earth and the sea and all that is in them. He did good by giving us rains and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts...
He's the only one who can satisfy our hearts.
And He knew that pausing, pondering, and appreciating His creation would speak deeply to our souls. Not that we worship the creation, but the creator it points to.
I've spent some time of late in a couple of places particularly known for their beauty - Hawaii, and Aspen, Colorado. I have marveled at the ocean
In both those settings, I thought of a line I read in Ann Voskamp's book, One Thousand Gifts. It's on page 167 in the chapter entitled "go lower."
"Yet when I stand before immensity that heightens my smallness-I have never felt sadness. Only burgeoning wonder."
That is so true! I wonder, I marvel at our big God, who undoubtedly can "handle" me and my problems if he is the creator of immense things like oceans and mountains. And it's just as easy to marvel here at home. All we have to do is look up. Psalm 19:1 says, "The heavens declare the glory of God, the skies proclaims the work of his hands." Is there anything more immense than the sky? Driving home tonight from a basketball shootout, my son, David, and I were remarking, marveling, over the sunset. What a beautiful, daily reminder of the bigness, the glory, of the one who made us.
He is worth applauding. And we can join the world for a part of a 24 hour applause tomorrow. But let's not stop there. Let's start there. Let's applaud the Creator and our Savior everyday.