So, I could have titled this “On Sickness and the Kingdom,” but then it would have been a little more sanitary.
The Kingdom of God is a messy, messy place.
Starting last week, the three of us in the Longview Beck clan have had a stomach virus. It’s a curious thing—it comes and goes at its fancy. I’m not sure whether to be thankful for the rest between bouts of yuck or to get angry and tell it to go the hell away. Maybe I should do both.
But it has made me think of something that isn’t that comfortable to think about: Jesus’ call to care for the sick. This is serious stuff.
Then He will say to those on His left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave Me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gaveMe nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite Me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe Me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after Me.‘ They will also answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for Me.’
Food, water, clothing, housing—check. I can volunteer with my church or other organizations to do this, no problem. But…
Hanging out with sick people.
Not so much.
Being sick is very lonely, and I have only been sick for a few days. My illness was contagious. I worried about passing it on to other people, especially people I care about like my parents and my friends. It’s hard to ask for help when you’re sick because there are consequences for the people you reach out to.
I am challenged to reach out to people who are sick, trusting God to be a shield to me and my children. Not my favorite part of walking with Jesus, I have to admit, the whole trusting Him with my health. I like control…don’t we all?
So, as a pregnant-mom-of-a-toddler, I am praying that the life of God will be more contagious in me than the illness in people I encounter.
Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief.
Babies are beautiful. And lovely. And life-giving. Every human is. Especially people with diagnoses like Down Syndrome.
This is Caitlynn. She is the daughter of my friend Sarah. Can’t you just tell from the picture how much fun she is having?
She is worth standing up for, worth protecting. She is lovely and lovable!
I want to be a woman who stands up for beautiful people like Caitlynn.
I’m not sure why we’re still debating the issue of abortion nationally. Especially in cases of the in-utero diagnosis of a disability. We would blush if we saw the way people with disabilities had been treated only 40 years ago. People with disabilities have so many more advantages than they once did. This is a great triumph!
So please tell me why it’s okay to discriminate against an unborn child when he is in the womb just because of the number of chromosomes he possesses? We all know that the ‘quality of life’ argument is–pardon my french–a pile of poo.
Hard does not mean life isn’t worth living.
Life is hard even without a disability. But it’s rich and deep and beautiful. You know that. So why let it be legal for people to claim that a certain group of people are better off never being born? That is a betrayal of the liberal agenda as I have heard it expressed…that everyone is worth something, and that’s why we should fight for the weak and powerless.
I think in the American Christian population, conservatives and liberals alike have some notion of the dignity of the person.
Conservatives tend toward legislation that protects and provides for the unborn child, claiming the dignity of a human even as it’s medically classified as a fetus. She has a heartbeat, fingernails, genetic uniqueness, and the image of God stamped on her little person. This little person deserves the chance to live.
Liberals tend toward legislation that protects and provides for the young child, particularly like the one encountered in poor and minority communities. She probably is the child of a single mother, who may work or not. This beautiful, unique little girl may live a hard life as she faces the consequences of decisions that were not her own. But it’s really important to shore up the things her parents can’t provide for her, necessities like adequate and healthy food, health insurance, and extra help in school.
It would be both ridiculous and hypocritical to deny protection and provision under the law to either of these. Even and especially if they are found to have a chromosomal abundance like Down Syndrome—how is it have we bought into the lie that it would be better to get rid of these children before they make their debut on the earth?
Money and responsibility.
Seriously? Seriously. The debate between conservatives and liberals on their differences in protecting the weak and powerless boils down to financial responsibility.
It’s expensive to have a full-term pregnancy…how will I pay for the things my child needs?
It’s expensive to pay for government aid to poor children…how will we balance the budget if women keep having children out of wedlock and expect the government to foot the bill?
We refuse to move past these issues because if we surrender one part of our agendas, we think it will all go down in flames. The conservatives won’t support government programming because of the fiscal risk and the liberals won’t support protection of children in the womb because it might upset the fine balance of powers by other liberal causes like gay marriage and women’s rights.
BUT WE HAVE TO UNDERSTAND THIS: if we refuse to protect the weak and powerless, our nation is doomed.
I know that I’m not the first to say this…but I don’t know who said it first:
A nation is only a great as the way it treats its weakest members.
Ah, I have found it.
Gandhi said it this way: “A nation’s greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members.”
Pope John Paul II says it even more explicitly: “A society will be judged on the basis of how it treats its weakest members and among the most vulnerable are surely the unborn and the dying.”
And if we refrain from acting on behalf of those who cannot speak for themselves, we are doomed. Doomed to enslavement by what money can buy. But we were not created for money’s sake. It is a tool in our hands. And not the only tool.
So how do we, whether conservative or liberal, defend the weakest and the powerless?
For starters, we share life with them. Then it can’t be about political agenda. Yes, man is a political animal. But when separated from true human relationships, politics becomes a monster, pushing for power instead of the protection and empowerment of the weak.
Conservatives: how many of you are out in your communities, making relationships with at-risk pregnant mothers and helping them build a network of support so that government assistance is not the only thing they have to lean on?
Liberals: how many of you are spending time with families with disabled children, learning the joy they have to share and the life lessons they have to teach us?
Dear liberal friends, for the love of all that is HOLY—you, my friends, who are so able to grasp deeply the beauty and lovely in life…like the art and music featured on NPR, the national art galleries, the public parks and libraries…HOW can you dare to say that a disabled child cannot enjoy these things and derive great delight from a life that appears different but beautiful still? Please be consistent in your narrative and STAND UP for these children, those whom so many with a liberal agenda want to see eliminated from the gene pool!
Conservatives, you don’t get off the hook either. You’re about personal responsibility, right? Drink your own medicine. Realize that you are not merely responsible for the children you have spawned but also those in your community. No, not to give into their every whim, but to be involved in their lives. Remember when your best friend’s father struck fear into your heart? And how you resent the kids on your block for not feeling the same about you when they skateboard past without acknowledging you or walk by and ignore you as their pants barely hang on their thighs, their underwear and what-all-else hanging out? It seems to me that fear is the thing to get away from and that respect is the thing to be cultivated. In relationship. So, be consistent in your narrative and BE INVOLVED in your community, spending time with youth that seem to be on a rocky path.
And all of us, let’s not make adoption about money. Give money to those who are eager to adopt. Especially those who want to adopt children with special needs.
This is where political action has to begin. In relational action.
photo by Jennifer Martinez
Hospitality. From the Latin hospitalitem, meaning ‘friendliness to guests.’ My life has been changed by hospitality, the guest to whom friendliness was the chief offering.
Zachary and I travelled to Kansas City our first married Spring Break. No kids, a dog in the care of his grandparents, Brunhilda (our trusty silver Honda Accord), and some money for gas and food. Our good friend Corrie lived there and we looked forward to seeing her and spending some time in the prayer room at IHOP-KC (no, not pancakes, but rather the International House of Prayer).
Corrie didn’t have room for us at her house, what with living with several other girls, but she did have some friends who liked to offer a place for pilgrims to stay—the Woottens. They liked to be called Pete and Woot. We obliged.
Their sons away at college, they had a couple of twin beds to offer us—in separate rooms. I think these three or four nights were our first nights not sleeping in the same bed since our wedding 9 months before. There was something both bittersweet and refreshing for me in that. Alone time at night wasn’t something I got anymore. My usually reserved husband opened up at night and we would spend several turns of the clock hands gabbing about our day, me fighting to keep my eyes open in an effort to soak up his talkativeness because I love it when he opens up to me. (Note: now I’m the one who gets talkative at night when he’s ready for bed…he said the other night, “So this is what it used to be like for you when we were first married?” I love moments of sweet vindication like that, don’t you? :o).
But alone in a twin bed in a room by myself. Time that I could just lay and think and talk to Jesus without the formality of bedtime prayer we had established between the two of us (Zachary and me, that is). Refreshing.
We indeed spent a lot of time in the prayer room, soaking up the presence of God and beautiful, spontaneous music while reading and meditating on Scripture. And yes, I think we both fell asleep in the pews a couple of times. It was such a beautiful time.
But I know that even more than the time spent in the prayer room, staying with Pete and Woot impacted us. It caused a shift in the trajectory of our life together.
I remember them cooking us salmon on a cedar plank—such foodies! And Nanette (Pete) made these delicious granola bars we took with us every morning. And the softened-cream-cheese-and-fresh-chopped-dill dip that I ate my weight in with Wheat Thins. Snacking on that deliciousness, talking about the call of God on our lives, the passion for music and worship He has put in us, the desire to be world-changers in the academy. Pete and Woot encouraging us in ways we never knew we needed, stepping into the place of a spiritual father and mother to say, “You’re doing a great job; keep at it! Never stop!”
Their hospitality changed our lives. Made us believe that we had something inside us more than mere youthful zeal. Gave us hope to not give up even when it was tough.
Blessed is the man whose strength is in You,
Whose heart is set on pilgrimage.
As they pass through the Valley of Weeping,
They make it a spring;
The rain also covers it with pools.
They go from strength to strength;
Each one appears before God in Zion.
Life following Jesus is a pilgrimage; it can’t help but be so. Our visit to the Wootens was a physical one; our weariness after a long drive on I-35 was a tangible thing for us. The food they gave our bodies was real (not to mention really tasty). In my memory, the season of life in which we descended upon this couple was a challenging one for them in a couple of dimensions. But they passed through their Valley of Weeping and made it a spring. In their pilgrimage, they provided a haven for others. A resting-place that marked these pilgrims’ hearts forever.
Hospitality. It’s related to the word ‘host,’ which literally meant ‘lord of strangers’ in Latin. (Thanks, once again, to my favorite website Etymonline.) I may or may not have to point out the use of the word ‘host’ in the Sacrament—the bread that is changed into the Body of Jesus. But He truly is the Lord of Strangers, making all sorts of pilgrims one people around the table.
There is so much more of the vision of hospitality that Zachary and I have for our lives, but that’s another post or another book-length discussion. So we start small. Meals in our home. Inviting others to rest in our home (and my parents’ home…they have more bedrooms currently…). Time listening and encouraging instead of spent on media or common distractions. Attention paid to each other, even, when the easy thing to do is to put up a wall and be alone in our marriage.
It’s a challenge.
To be a woman who lives and breathes hospitality. Who on her own pilgrimage makes her valley of weeping a place of springs of life through Jesus. That is one of the seven desires of my heart. That I can say truly with St. Benedict, “All are to be welcomed as Christ.” And to know that He is intimately welcomed into this pilgrim’s journey.
So, it’s Sunday night and I’m writing my post for Monday morning. Not like me.
I have a headache and I’ve been facebook trolling for a little bit after tutuoring my husband on the intricacies of the Blackboard Grade Center. Not feeling ‘super spiritual’ or even qualified to be writing a post on worship and creativity. But I have to take a step back—worship is a lifestyle. And I want to style my life to be one of worship and creativity. One day it will be a continuous stream. But for now I can sometimes be a Facebook troll and know that Jesus loves me.
Guys and gals, a lifestyle of worship doesn’t mean that I want to spend all my time on the guitar or listening to Christian praise music. It means so much more than that.
It means creating a personal liturgy where Jesus is my constant companion, where I want to have an awareness of Him, His nearness, His goodness, His kindness, all the time. Recognizing Him for who He really is and responding in love. That is worship.
I have this theory, taken in part from James K. A. Smith and his book Desiring the Kingdom, that everyone has a personal liturgy. That we already automatically structure our lives to worship something or someone. That the things that we choose to do reveal where our hearts lay. It could be shopping or social media or status symbols or good grades or physical fitness or philosophy or relationships…for me honestly, it’s been food and my appetite.
Worship isn’t confined to a five-minute devotion in the morning; it has to be the structure of my life. (There’s a whole book lurking my fingers on this topic…) And the thing that draws me more deeply into worship is carving out time in my schedule to create.
Creativity and Consumption
My sister Jennifer has a drive to create that rivals Ray Bradbury (his repertoire includes 27 novels, 600 short stories, 21 plays, 25 screenplays, and numerous pieces of plus children’s literature and nonfiction works). The girl creates almost nonstop. You can see some of her work here and here. So creative.
In college she took a fabrics class and it resulted in some really neat work, though it was strange to me at the time. One piece, entitled ‘Grandma Death,’ made me think, “What’s going on in the head of this sister of mine?”
Jennifer with ‘Grandma Death’ at her senior art show, 2010
But the more I get to know my sister and the more I get to know the world around me as I get older, I realize her genius. It is unique and beautiful and an interpretation of the world around her and the thoughts in her head. So awesome. I love it! I love her!
About a month ago, I was reading the book of Revelation and it led me to a passage in Exodus 28 about the Ephod for the High Priest to wear when he ministers before the Lord. (Sorry for the long quote…)
5 “They shall take the gold, blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and the fine linen, 6 and they shall make the ephod of gold, blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and fine woven linen, artistically worked. 7 It shall have two shoulder straps joined at its two edges, and so it shall be joined together. 8 And the intricately woven band of the ephod, which is on it, shall be of the same workmanship, made of gold, blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and fine woven linen.
9 “Then you shall take two onyx stones and engrave on them the names of the sons of Israel: 10 six of their names on one stone and six names on the other stone, in order of their birth. 11 With the work of an engraver in stone, like the engravings of a signet, you shall engrave the two stones with the names of the sons of Israel. You shall set them in settings of gold. 12 And you shall put the two stones on the shoulders of the ephod asmemorial stones for the sons of Israel. So Aaron shall bear their names before the Lord on his two shoulders as a memorial. 13 You shall also make settings of gold, 14 and you shall make two chains of pure gold like braided cords, and fasten the braided chains to the settings.” (NKJV)
Whoa–all the sudden, I saw my kid sister doing mixed-media art and clothing projects as a reflection of the creative heart of God! And she has this thing for rocks…(which my daughter Lily has inherited, somehow…).
In creating and sharing our creations with others, we reveal the beauty of God.
Jennifer probably wouldn’t call her artwork worship, but even so her creativity spurs me on deeper into the heart of God.
Worship is definitely not limited to music. As people who desire to be worshipers like the Father seeks (in Spirit and truth), we have a huge realm of choices in being creative! Music, art, words, food, clothing, gardening—there are so many more ways to create than I can think of right now!
The thing is that I usually live my life as a consumer rather than a creator. And that causes me to take things and people for granted. We must consume to some extent—food, electricity (this might be optional for some?), oxygen? But I find that for myself I consume much less when I am involved in the creation of something. Making creativity a part of my daily liturgy adds a balance to my life that I otherwise lack.
Take a meal, for example.
I cook every other day. (Many thanks go to Kelley Stone for teaching me how to meal plan when we lived together last year…) If we just buy food ready-made, I am much more likely to eat more than ‘my share’—aka, what is good for my body and my little growing baby inside. But when I participate in the act of preparation—thinking through the menu, purchasing the components of the meal, prepping them and combining them with some form of heat—I am more circumspect about how much there is and how much we’ll need to last us through eating tomorrow. And in my circumspection I am thankful that I don’t have to cook tomorrow.
How does this relate to worship?
Carving out time to be creative forces us into a rhythm. Our souls crave rhythm.
Being creative also makes us less critical. The more I cook, the more I am in awe of the contestants on reality cooking shows…The more I play my guitar and write songs and share vulnerably with friends and family the things God is teaching me, the less I am apt to criticize the singer at church on Sunday morning for being off-key or messing up the words.
Creativity is vulnerability.
Noah was pretty vulnerable building the ark. Looked like a big stupid idiot for 120 years. And then came the flood. I know all those animals were thankful. And his kids. And wife. And his kids’ wives.
If we don’t take the risk of vulnerability in creativity and worship, we are stiffing the world around us. We have something to offer as we connect with God, as we learn who He is, as we recognize His beauty and translate it into art.
Don’t stiff the world.
Don’t stiff the Church.
Don’t stiff yourself.
Carve out a time to create. Make an empty space to fill. Daily? Weekly? Make it a part of your routine, your liturgy.
I promise you, you WILL be surprised at the things that flow out of you. If they scare you, keep going. Ask for grace. If they awe you, keep your eyes pointed to Jesus. Ask for grace.
Just don’t stop worshiping Jesus. And don’t stop creating.
A poem. Tuesday, July 30. Waco.
Eyes that see.
Drink and taste
Passion and victory
Every day’s a door
into the mystery.
Burning all the time.
Not devouring but consuming.
Suffering and joy
flint toward Jerusalem.
Cross, grave, cloths, stone,
angel, garden, road with friends
My heart is burning within me.
What are you creating?
The things we do in the flesh affect our spirit, and the things we do in our spirit affect our flesh.
This is the Incarnation—God becoming flesh forever.
This is at the heart of what sacramental living means.
The intersection of flesh and spirit is no more clearly seen than at the Cross. Even the most fundamental of Bible-believing Christians know that what happened on the cross—the passion, the death, the sacrifice, the pouring of Jesus’ blood—is the demonstrative proof of the very real link between flesh and spirit. There is no denying this, or you are no longer orthodox Christian.
So where do we get the position or authority to say that the practices have been called the Sacraments in the history of the Church—Communion (aka the Eucharist, the Lord’s Table, the Lord’s Supper, the Last Supper), Baptism, Marriage, Ordination, Confirmation, Confession (aka Penance, Reconciliation), Anointing of the Sick—that these are symbols in our faith walk?
I am still learning so much about all of these, but I am going to focus on the two that I have thought the most about: Communion and Baptism. Rather Protestant of me, no?
Baptism is no more a symbol than the cross is a symbol.
If you’ve attended or participated in an evangelical Protestant church, you have doubtless seen someone get baptized or at least heard about baptism. (Well, can I say ‘doubtless’? Maybe your experience has been different.)
Anyway, back to baptism. And most likely, you’ve heard that the reason Christians get baptized is to publicly proclaim allegiance to Jesus or membership in His Church. Perhaps the pastor has thrown in something like this: Baptism does not remove our sins; it’s a symbol of what Jesus has done. Yes?
Here’s the deal: Baptism is no more a symbol than the cross is a symbol. There is power in baptism, a new freedom because God chose to become flesh and chose to let water wash us physically and spiritually.
Baptism is no mere symbol.
The point where symbolism must fade behind the light of REALITY is the Cross. Jesus didn’t merely surrender His will (though such a glorious surrender!); He didn’t merely shed symbolic blood. Real. Blood. Was. Shed. For our redemption.
Read these words about baptism from the Apostle Paul:
We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
Nope. Not symbolic. We were buried with Jesus. United in His real-and-not-symbolic death.
I’m not saying that I understand how that all works. But this is what I do know: after I was baptized at age 14, I experienced a remarkable newness–not merely spiritual, but physical, a joy that effected all of me and made it easier to say no to sin and yes to Jesus. I asked Jesus to be my Savior at age 3, so 11 years were not lost; they were simply not lived as fully as they could have been.
This phrase has echoed in my heart since I heard a friend say it:
There is mystery in Communion; there is power in Communion.
The same is true of baptism. We are washed and joined in Jesus’ death and resurrection through the physical act of baptism. We are fed with true food and true drink when we eat and drink the bread and wine of Communion.
I’m not saying that I understand how the Communion reality works either—that I can say with the assurance of the Catholic Church that the bread becomes physical bread and the wine physical blood. (Otherwise, I’d need to be doing some converting…) All I have are Jesus’ words:
For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him…This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me…This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.
John 6:55, 56; Luke 22:19, 20
Let me tell you, as one who has struggled most of her life with food addiction and condemnation that results from that, I need true food and true drink. And I need it at least weekly to feed me! It’s not symbolic; it’s reality. It takes me to the foot of the cross, with a heart of thankfulness for being loved and a heart of brokenness over sin, and yet here is hope that He is not a God faraway, symbolically. He is near. He comes to me through bread and wine. He lets me digest Him, take Him into myself in a way that no symbol could ever suffice.
This effects every part of my life. It means that I can live in the intersection of spirit and flesh, at the crux of the Cross, in everything I do—mothering, wifing, cooking, cleaning, teaching Spanish, writing fiction or blog posts, singing, talking to the cashier at Walmart, even and especially resting. Because my flesh matters in eternity. So does yours. Don’t fall prey to the lie that only ‘spiritual’ things matter. It’s straight from hell.
(This is the second installment in my series on the 7 themes of my life. You can read the first here.)
Sacramental living. That’s what this post’s about. Well, it’s part 1 of it, at least.
It all started when I was taking religion classes at Baylor as an undergrad. Dr. Andrew Arterbury’s Johannine Theology class was kind of rocking my world with the discussion of gnosticism and the Gospel of John. I was being challenged in ways I never knew that I wanted to be.
The basic teaching of gnosticism is that the physical world is at odds with the spiritual–bad versus good. There’s something about studying theology that makes you realize, “Hey, this is actually what I believe…and it’s a heresy!” It is my personal belief that every person holds on to some amount of heresy in her personal doctrine, and faith is the working out of the truth in love. Good and solid doctrine is a journey, not a light switch.
Gnosticism was my drug of choice before I even knew what it was.
Growing up in a Christian home with parents who loved God and wanted me to do the same did not protect me from this heresy; it actually encouraged it (at no great fault of my parents, mind you). Focusing on the spiritual aspect of life was emphasized in church and it naturally flowed into all parts of my life. The flesh was bad, the spirit was good. If we could just get our flesh to go away, everything would be better. My greatest struggles focused on the schism between the flesh and the spirit, so it was obvious to me that my flesh was sinful and tainted.
I’ve heard one pastor call it ‘this flesh can.’ Like it’s a trash can.
That’s about how I felt.
But talking through the pitfalls of gnosticism in the context of the Incarnation in Dr. Arterbury’s class shifted my mindset–
God made a good world! It says so in Genesis 1.
He didn’t send Jesus into the world to rescue us from the world (the physical reality of creation); He sent Jesus to rescue us from the power of sin (the spiritual reality of evil). And even if I miss God’s words at creation marking it as good, there is this event called the Incarnation.
I’ll say it again–the Incarnation. The most wonderful and beautiful destruction of gnostic doctrine that could ever be conceived. That the second Person of the Trinity would BECOME A HUMAN. This is huge. And not only does Jesus become a human as Mary’s egg receives the life of the God of the Universe and implants in her uterus, He STAYS A HUMAN FOREVER. Flesh and bone. So this flesh-bad-spirit-good thing was really challenged in my heart.
All this leads one to the conclusion that the flesh is probably not inherently evil, since God could become flesh. And if the flesh isn’t evil, then what is it? Neutral? Maybe.
But I have been on a journey over the past 9 years learning that it’s not neutral–it’s beautiful. So beautiful, in fact, that it has incredible ramifications–Jesus is a Man; He’s not going back to a disembodied state. Neither are we. And because He makes all things new, He’s not just scrapping this thing called the Earth–but I’ll go more into that in the 6th installment of the series. Patience, grasshopper. Patience.
So, along with my discovery about being a heretic, Dr. Arterbury’s class pushed me into some other interesting conflicts, like the authorship of the Gospel of John. At first the idea of it possibly being Mary Magdalene or Lazarus really fascinated me. But my fascination soon led to a sort of uneasiness, like being afloat in a sea with big waves and no experienced sailor at the helm. Just me. Oh, and some Biblical scholars from the late 20th century with groovy ideas.
This uneasiness pushed me into something glorious–Church Tradition. A harbor in the storm of Biblical literature and criticism. Yes, God is always doing a new thing. But He’s also been doing a beautiful thing through His Church. So let’s not be arrogant teenagers and assume we know better than our Christian mothers and fathers. Let’s get their perspective on things before we make up our minds completely.
How does this fit into sacramental living?
I am a writer. A story-teller.
I must create in order to fully live.
And my creations have their truest expression when I am walking in intimate friendship with Jesus, fully submitted to His Lordship over my life.
When you know the character of a person, it can make it either harder or easier to submit to him or her. As I get to know Jesus better—kind, honest, with a good sense of humor, zealous for my whole heart and the truth—it gets easier to submit my will to His, even if at times it can be hard.
He is passionate for the truth and as I walk with Him, His passion rubs off on me and I find myself searching for ways to express this zeal.
Lord. It’s a hard word and concept in this day, this age. It brings to mind domination, slavery, imprisonment.
So how do I reconcile this word-image with the resounding ‘yes’ in my heart when I hear words like these?
“We don’t want to have a home where Jesus is honored;
we want a home where Jesus is Lord.”
Byron and Carla Weathersby
It echoes deep in the recesses of my soul—the Lordship of Jesus Christ which historical, orthodox, and vibrant Christianity calls me to.
Yes, honor is due Him. But in my heart and life, honor can turn into mere words…not true surrender to Jesus and what He is doing and saying in my life and in the world and in the heavens.
Surrendering to the Lordship of Jesus is death for me, it’s true. But in this death there is myrrh, the fragrant aroma of the Cross.
If I am His inheritance, the only way He fully receives me is for me to die. That is how inheritance works. He did the same for me on the Cross, and He continues to die to Himself as He walks with me (so humble!), a friend that sticks closer than a brother and through my self-centeredness that denies—or at least pushes away—His beauty and worthiness as the song of my life.
I don’t want a home where Jesus is honored;
I want a home where Jesus is Lord.
Our English word lord comes from the Old English ‘hlafweard’—literally “the keeper, the guardian of the loaves of bread.” The master of the house has the bread and he gives his own people what they can eat.
I come to my Lord, my Hlafweard, for true food and true drink on this Lord’s Day, knowing truly that apart from Him, away from His Lordship and His table, I can do, be, say, become nothing.