lundi 17 novembre 2003

Who are we worshipping here?

I went on another field trip today with my New Religious Movements class to a human potential movement "church", which believes in the Science of Mind and is affiliated with the Church of Religious Science. We were all incredibly heartbroken at what we experienced this morning. Before we left, we prayed that there would be a real spirit of humility upon these people (since the human potential movement bases everything on the abilities and powers of humankind). But discover my shock when I found something in their songbook that seemed to go completely contrary to what we were praying for! Perhaps you've seen this little ditty before. Maybe it was originally written as a parody. I've no clue since I did not see it until today for the first time.

Lord, it's hard to be humble
When you're perfect in every way.
I can't wait to look in the mirror
Cause I get better looking each day.
To know me is to love me
I must be a heck-of-a-One [lyrics changed from the original - these are the words in the songbook]
Oh Lord it's hard to be humble
Cause I'm doing the best that I can.
- Mac Davis "Lord, It's Hard to Be Humble"

Wow. They took this song and put it in their songbook to be sung during their services. Not only that, they changed the sixth line in that song from "I must be one hell of a man" to "I must be one heck-of-a-One". (I like how they made hell into a nicer word, heck, hehe). Notice that they changed it to refer to a divine person, namely themselves. That scared me. It wasn't only in this one instance, however, that they referred to themselves as the One, etc. They also had a song of the Lord's Prayer where the ending was changed to I AM. I AM!!! The holy name of the Lord (Exodus 3:14)!! This movement thinks they are the I AM! The name that Jesus was going to be stoned for, for saying. This was what got me the most - how the utter holiness of God was not revered at all in these beliefs.

So imagine my relief when I went to church this evening and we sang this:

Humble thyself in the sight of the Lord
Humble thyself in the sight of the Lord
And He shall lift you up higher and higher and He shall lift you up
So I will humble myself in the sight of the Lord
Humble myself in the sight of the Lord
And He shall lift me up higher and higher and He shall lift me up
- Bob Hudson "Humble Thyself"

This is what many call the paradox in Christianity:
- "He must become greater; I must become less." (John 3:30)
- "So the last will be first, and the first will be last." (Matthew 20:16)
- "If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all." (Mark 9:35)
- "Who [Jesus Christ] being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness." (Philippians 2:6-7)
- "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and the gospel will save it." (Mark 8:34-35)
- "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." (Mark 10:45)

You know what? Though this paradox may never be fully figured out in this life, I love this idea! I believe that one of the most wondrous yet mind-boggling concepts within Christianity is its essence of irony. A faith that is based on the denial of oneself to the worship of Christ? Where to become great, one must become a servant? Simply wonderful. I cannot imagine serving a God like the God of the Bible in any other way. I am so thrilled that God extended His grace and mercy to me, allowing me to worship Him in this most spectacular way - by focusing all my attention on Him rather than on myself. A faith where I can look upon His holiness, His majesty and His awesome splendor and praise Him for He is worthy of all praise. Thank You Lord for humbling me, for showing me who I really am before You. Just like Isaiah fell before God and cried out: "Woe to me!" I cried. "I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty." (Isaiah 6:5)

Now, I suppose I should add a disclaimer since this is something that can be found on the Net and there will be those who will stop by and read what I have written and disagree with me. So let me say this flat out: I do NOT wish to convey a judgmental tone through this post at all. The last thing I want is to condemn people for their beliefs simply because they are different from mine. What my purpose is in writing this is, is to point out the main difference between these new religious movements that have popped up as of late who proclaim worship of the self as opposed to the historical biblical Christian faith that proclaims worship of its LORD and only of Him. It burdens my soul to see that people are falling into the trap of creating a "god" out of themselves in order to fill that hole in their lives that only God can fill. I am troubled because, without God in my life, I may easily have been one of these people. But God extends His love and mercy to all who call on His name, acknowledging their unworthiness before such a just God. And because He is so just, He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to earth to pay the price that we could not pay for what we have done. Our lies, our secret filth, our evil malicious thoughts - everything was cleared and wiped clean when Jesus died on the cross for us. All we need to do is confess this and our need for a Saviour outside of us. We cannot do it on our own. We will inevitably fail. We need Jesus Christ. This is what I write about. This is my life, a life where Jesus Christ is the Lord of all that I am.

Apologies for the length once again (I know, I know, ruining the perfect blog post standards). I just have so much to say and this was the best I could do to condense it. I really need to work on my brevity. Oh here I go again, I am going to stop now--

[Listening to: Dare You to Move - Switchfoot - The Beautiful Let Down (04:15)]

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