Monday, March 5, 2012

Redirecting Attention - A humble theme.

Whenever I write a post for the Press, I like to present it a certain way. There's usually a personal anecdote, a quote, or some kind of analogy I can use as an opener. A lot of writers do this to, you know, Zazz up the content, keep it from sounding too textbook.

I think I have another reason for using this style, though. If I'm honest with myself, there's a part of me that wants desperately to have people like what I do and I sometimes assume readers will most enjoy my clever stories. It's a part of me I would like to see put to death. No one likes a loudmouth people pleaser.

There's a reason I'm saying this now. Since last week, I've had this post idea nagging at me. I know I should write it, but I didn't know how to package it in a way I thought would appear interesting. I worried I would seem boring if I only wrote what I thought about a passage in the Bible.

I realize I just used this device again. I'm sure I'll continue to use it, but I thought a confessional would help support the point this post.

In Luke chapters 1 and 2, I noticed a repeating theme. Whenever people come in contact with Jesus, they praise God. In 1:39-45, a pregnant Mary visits Elizabeth, mother of John the Immerser (or, yes, Baptist). Elizabeth is filled with the Holy Spirit and recognizes Mary is carrying the Son of God. In response to this, Mary focuses her praise on God. "My soul magnifies the Lord."

When an angel appears to the shepherds in 2:8-12 to tell them about the birth of Jesus, a multitude appears and sings, "Glory to God in the highest."

Simeon, upon seeing baby Jesus at the temple, rejoices saying, "Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation." Directly after this in verse 38, a prophetess named Anna enters the temple. "And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem."

Even Jesus used people's attention toward him as an opportunity to direct it towards God. He once told his critics in John 5:19, "The Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise."

I don't want you to think I'm separating Jesus from God. I know they are one and the same, one being the Father and the other the Son. But I like how the Trinity praises the other parts of itself. The Holy Spirit testifies of Jesus. God proclaimed His pleasure in the Son after John baptized Jesus. More than anyone else, God has the right to tell everyone "Pay attention to me!" But over and over, I see Him doing it in a demonstration of humility by drawing the attention to the other parts of Himself.

Does that make sense? The trinity is a tricky topic.

Do you struggle with wanting people's admiration? Do you have a crippling need to have others like you? What would it look like to have all of the time and energy spent on making ourselves look good redirected towards God? I wonder what it would be like to have people see me and praise Jesus.

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