Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Reverence

When my grandmother learned something new, she would sometimes say "I see, said the blind man." As much as I adored my grandma, this particular saying of hers annoyed the living daylights out of me. I strained my eyes, trying not to roll them when she'd say this. But right now, I get it. I have no words to describe my thoughts better than "I see, said the blind man."
I know that it has been a well kept secret, but I have been reading Francis Chan's book, Crazy Love. I know, you all weren't sure about it, since I've only blogged and twittered about it a few zillion times, but I am. And, as much as I have always prided myself on my super duper reading capabilities, I am still in the first couple of pages of Chapter 1.
"What is that woman's problem" you may be asking yourself. "She seems intelligent enough. I mean, she is no Thomas Aquinas, but then, who is? Is it a comprehension issue?" And I suppose the answer to that is both yes and no. You see, I have understood what I have read, but I have found myself resistant to it, thereby having a difficult time moving on. What am I so resistant to, you wonder. I do believe that God loves me. I also believe that he is far grander than I can comprehend. So what is my problem? Isn't that what those few pages are saying?
Well, yes they are. However, he suggests in these first few pages that praying with words is hubris. We should not be approaching the King of the Universe with our own words, but ready to listen to Him. That is where my heart closed. Jesus told me to call God Father. He used the word Abba, which, for us, would be like daddy. Well, I can tell my daddy/Daddy anything. Sure, I need to respect him/Him always, but there is no reason I can't pour my heart out to him/Him. He holds a deep affection for me, so I felt that these sentences were nonsense.
What changed? At my "Sunday School" teacher meeting, we were discussing how to teach the students, and yes, even some of their parents, reverence for God in prayer. I found myself using some of the exact analogies (though not the don't talk in prayer one) that I read in Mr. Chan's book. That is when the dots connected. He is talking about remembering who God is, and approaching Him with reverence. He is saying to get back to that point where we recognize the awesomeness of God. I am sure we are then going to go back to talking to Him, like the Lord's Prayer coaches us too. (No I haven't read that far yet, so I don't know for sure.)
So, I am starting to "see" what Mr. Chan is saying. The question at the meeting kind of opened my eyes, though not entirely. I still want to see where I get back to be God's daughter. "For to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become Children of God."
An awesome God. Yes, I know lots of Christian bloggers post this song, but it is too true to ever be trite. I am posting it now.

2 comments:

sherri said...

Helen, you raise a very good point and it's good to see that you are open minded enough to ponder the author's view on how to address God when approaching Him to show reverence.

This one thing I know.
He is ALWAYS looking at the heart of a man. I think it is very thoughtful/reverent to reserve special words for Him, but as so many try to do, putting too much emphasis on our words, as opposed to the message we're trying to commnicate would not benefit us during our prayer time.

Jesus said that we "must change, and become like a little child" in order to enter the kingdom of heaven. A child has that balance of respectful fear and uninhibited
expression of love for their Father. And they are never trying to impress with words or actions (until someone tells them they need to).

In my Sunday School class that I am teaching right now, that is what we have been studying. The book of Matthew, paying close attention to Jesus' words, actions and the way he interacted with people while he was on the earth.
This week we were studying the characteristics of a child. ( I have an upcoming post about it.).

THE HEART of a man is what has been shouting out to my own heart.
Taking your transparant heart before a Holy God is VERY humbling, and reverence is a by product of the presence of God.
I don't know that I've never been reverent in His presnce whether I called him, O Holy God, Father in Heaven, Daddy, etc. My heart cries out to Him, and my words may change, but never my reverence for Him.

Honestly, I believe the best thing to teach children about God is that they need to spend time with Him personally. Ask HIM all of your questions. Tell Him all of your fears, secrets, sins, hopes and dreams, etc. Shower HIM with praise and stay around long enough to HEAR Him answer or speak to you.

I know I'm going on and on, I'm sorry.

Steph at The Red Clay Diaries said...

Helen,

I can't wait till my copy of the book arrives! I've been feeling all antsy about it, and now your post really gets me intrigued again.

I like how you described your thought process. Based on how you described it, it does sound like Chan is focusing on attitude - not exclusively, but first. Then the words flow out of that.

I like that. Too often I do forget to be reverent. I'm not flippant, but I think maybe I go to God not as a king and a father, but as a peer. Like when I tell him how I want him to fix something. Or that I'm cool; I can handle it.

Good thoughts for today.