Expressing our Admiration

I stood with hundreds of sky watchers, balancing on my toes to get the best view. Bursts of red, green, blue, and white exploded over the river in kaleidoscope patterns, even some remarkable heart shapes I’d never witnessed before. No one appeared bored since all eyes were locked on the sky for a show that went on for an impressive duration. Some viewers were even taking photos or videos to capture the moments to enjoy again later or share with friends. Yet, the only sounds were the loud cracks, pops, and sizzles of the fireworks. The crowd was surprisingly silent as they watched this stunning display of light.

Then, in the last minute of a 25-minute show, as the grand finale lit up the whole downtown area with multiple fireworks exploding simultaneously in a lavishly expensive spectacle, voice boxes unlocked. I finally heard some Oooohs and Aaaaaaws. Awakening from their mesmerized stupor, the crowd began to cheer as the last few cracks and pops concluded their shattering of the calm night. Applause joined the verbal praise as the show ended, leaving trails of smoke where color had been.

As someone who doesn’t attend firework displays often, I enjoyed the 25 minutes from beginning to end. However, the finale I had just witnessed was the sixth similar show offered in our city in the past few weeks. I don’t know how many people in the crowd had been there one or more of the other nights. Maybe they were less impressed with the lead-up fireworks than I was. Was that what kept them silent for 24 minutes? The beauty of the colorful designs might have been old hat to them.

“We’ve been there already—seen it before. It takes more to impress us now,” I imagine them saying. “Now, that last minute? That was amazing!”

I wonder if we’ve done that with our image of God. Have we become so accustomed to the miracles around us that we fail to be impressed unless we see something spectacular?

The stars twinkled in the sky last night before and after the fireworks. They hung there without human assistance, putting on their own light display. Yet, did we look up and recognize them as God’s miracles? What about the moon? The sun? The trees and flowers? The birds? The people turning and retracing their steps back to their homes?

We see miracles every day. They are all around us! Yet, sometimes we wait for that extraordinary display—the stunning sunrise, the autumn leaves, or the frost patterns on our window—before we acknowledge God’s miracles. And even then, we might forget to speak up and praise Him for them.

I love that my local church encourages making noise to God. The first half of our service is called Worship Time. We sing and clap our hands; we sometimes pray aloud, shout, or dance. My friends and family will tell you I can be loud, so this suits me well!

But it’s not noise that is necessary for worship. It’s engagement. I can go to church every Sunday, sing the songs, and clap my hands to the beat without acknowledging God at all! I can also leave the service unchanged when I could have experienced something more.

I’m sure many fireworks watchers silently applauded the team who put the show together last night. They were in awe of the display but saw no need to verbalize their appreciation. We can praise God quietly, too, with no outward exhibition of worship. God sees our hearts and loves our adoration no matter how we package it. The sound volume is irrelevant, but the participation level is essential.

What kind of worship do you prefer? Are you quiet as you speak to God in your mind? Do you like to make a joyful noise? Most of us likely do both, depending on where we are.

What pops into your mind when I ask if you’ve seen a miracle? Look around, and add more of God’s amazing works or gifts to your miracle list. Take a moment to worship and thank Him for those miracles.

What a mighty God we serve!

Thank You, Father, for all the miracles I see around me: Your creations, Your gifts, and Your hand on my life. Forgive me for sometimes taking many of them for granted.

I praise You and thank You for loving me. You are awesome, God.

I pledge my loyalty to You.

Amen.

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