"Lookit." This word escaped my lexicon long ago but has recently come back to me like an old friend. As kids, we'd shout it whenever something fascinated us. "Lookit! A shooting star!" "Lookit this ant hill!" The word is both an exclamation and a verb; it signifies both wonder and an invitation.
Interestingly, it was my father-in-law who brought this word back to me. He uses it regularly. This goes with his childlike enthusiasm and keen sense of observation. "Ha, lookit!" he'll say as we drive by deer gawking from the roadside.
On one of our family's favorite walks, we're wandering through a wildlife sanctuary not far from our home. Waterfowl are so used to visitors they waddle around at your feet. Suddenly, we hear Diane's dad shout, "Lookit!" and turn to see him grinning with a mallard duck in his hands for us all to see. Diane scolds him. "Dad, put that duck down," but he's caught in wonder, giddy with delight.
Delight is infectious. It beckons others to participate. I've begun using "lookit" more lately, and as I do, I'm recovering the innocence and simple wonder of my childhood. My kids, quite naturally, have latched on to the word as well.
Why did I lose this sense of delight and wonder in the first place? The anxieties of adult responsibilities and the trappings of a rational world undoubtedly crowded it out. But I believe, before anything else, we were made for wonder. I believe "lookit" is woven into the fabric of our being, starting with the act of creation itself. When God saw all that he had made, he declared it "very good." I can't help hearing the love and affirmation in his voice, saying "Lookit!" as planets are set into orbit, as lilies disclose themselves, as flocks of snow geese take off in unison, unfurling like a clean sheet from the wet marsh.
Best of all, there is an invitation to participate in God's exclamation, and man responds. His first activity is a creative one when he names the animals. Adam and Eve roll the sounds around in their mouths until together they shout, "Voila!" as they hit on just the right name. The same sense of observation and wonder is there. This is, in essence, man and woman's first recorded act of worship.
You can hear this refrain of "Lookit" again in the psalms as the poet shouts: "The heavens declare the glory of God!" (Ps. 19). The prophets repeatedly call the people to stand in awe at what the Lord will do, and these displays either strike fear and trembling in those who witness them, or they incite celebration. But either way, everyone who sees it says, "Lookit."
Similar words from John the Baptist set in motion the gospel story: "Behold! (Lookit!) The lamb of God..." If there is a key word in the bible, "behold" might be that word because what is the bible if it is not an amazing revelation. As the gospel story continues, Jesus heals many people and eats with outcasts, as if to say, "Lookit! This is what the Kingdom God is all about. This is the good news." And the invitation is the same for everyone: "Join in and follow me!"
The Easter story is one big "Lookit!" event. "I have seen the Lord!" -- these announcements of Jesus' appearances fill the story of his resurrection. Locked doors can't even keep out the wonder as Jesus appears to his disciples gathered in a room. "Lookit!" he says. "It's really me. Come and touch me. Eat with me." And just in case they didn't get it, he breaths on them, rounding out this "lookit moment" with an invitation as he invites us to participate in his new life by joining in his ultimate purpose of reconciliation.
From the beginning at creation to the resurrection, it's all very physical, earthy stuff, and this seems to be paramount in the Easter story. It's not primarily about abstract propositions or simply about metaphors dancing in the ether. We can't "look at" or touch a theological proposition. We were made to behold and hold him.
Finally, when Jesus returns, the whole world will be saying, "Lookit!" But we don't have to wait until then to see him and join in the wonder. "Lookit's" are all around us every day, from a morning dew drop to a splash of vermilion across the evening sky, from a child's first step to the smile on a grandfather's face at his final breath.