06 March 2012

Humbly bowing low...

Several weeks ago, on Sunday night, at the evening worship service (a gathering of expats where we worship in a bit more western -and natural for me- style), the speaker asked if anyone actually knew what it was like to stand before real royalty... you know, like they show in the movies... where you immediately bow or kneel or do something to lower and humble yourself and your position simply because you are in the presence of one who is undeniably recognized as awesome and powerful and above you?

I don't.

I mean, I can imagine what it might be like, but I've never been in the presence of one so powerful, one so fear-inspiring, one whose being is so terrifyingly magnificent that I'm compelled to bow or to prostrate myself before him or her, hesitating to lift my gaze, literally afraid of of the overwhelming sight my eyes would see. At least, I've never been around another human that inspired that sort of reaction.
I wonder how many of us have ever really, in real life...?

Part of it might be cultural - most of us have never been in a situation where we felt that someone had all and absolute power over us... that our continued existence depended on that one's continued benevolence. There are parts of the world where leaders are given or assume that sort of absolute power. And those lesser fall to their face in the presence of one with such power.

I know, theoretically, that is how it is supposed to be with God and there have certainly been times I've felt overwhelmed in His Presence... but not in that way, in that sense.

I've been trying to imagine what it might have felt like to be one of those Roman soldiers, accompanying the Jewish leaders who arrested Jesus
When he had finished praying, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley. On the other side there was an olive grove, and he and his disciples went into it.

Now Judas, who betrayed him, knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with his disciples. So Judas came to the grove, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and Pharisees. They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons.

Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?”

“Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied.

“I am he,” Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.) When Jesus said, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground.

Again he asked them, “Who is it you want?”

And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.”

“I told you that I am he,” Jesus answered. “If you are looking for me, then let these men go.” This happened so that the words he had spoken would be fulfilled: “I have not lost one of those you gave me.”

Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.)

Jesus commanded Peter, “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?”

Then the detachment of soldiers with its commander and the Jewish officials arrested Jesus. (John 18)

It's sobering to contemplate the fact that I stand in the presence of that sort of power every day... and far too often, I choose not to see it, or to ignore it and not to respond accordingly...

How about you?

How often do you think about what it means
to live your life continually in the presence of the King?

How and when does that truth impact your everyday moments?


  1. I don't think about it a lot, unfortunately. It's really hard sometimes, I think, to try to understand how God is King and deserves utmost respect and honor and to also see Him as loving, caring Father. I've been reading The Chronicles of Narnia to the kids lately, and I really like how CS Lewis balances these two in Aslan. Not that we should get our view of God from a character in a book, but...I like how he puts these qualities of God together into one "person".

    1. I agree, Jill - Lewis does a great job of calling attention to both aspects.

      We tend to want to focus on one or another particular characteristic or quality of God, to the exclusion of the others... I think it is safer. Speaking of "safe" - I read an interesting post just yesterday of how we need to remember that God is always good, but not "safe." Lewis addresses that one, too, eh?


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