Friday, March 27, 2015

The Humble God

"Your love is extravagant..."

Such was the opening line to a song the community gathered for Adoration sang last night at the local Newman Center chapel. A room full of 20-something college students, hearts hungry for adventure and excitement, brought to a calm and brought to their knees before a Mighty Ruler, a Sovereign God, a Worthy Prince...a piece of bread.

Peace so pervaded the atmosphere you could taste it. The room was quiet but far from dead; pews were packed with people alive for and because of the Lord of Life set before them.

Two days ago, we celebrated the feast of the Annunciation, when the angel Gabriel came to announce to Mary that she had been chosen to bear the Messiah, the Son of God, the Savior of the world, if she wanted. Of course as we all know, she agreed, but her consent does not at all diminish the awesome docility of the Creator to the created present here. God didn't just become human, He first asked if it would be okay.

God could have stormed into the world, trumpets blazing, light overflowing from the heavens, struck down the weight of sin with a single powerful blow, and been done with it. But God is not that kind of God.

Our God, curiously enough, is a God who asks permission, and not only that, He asks permission from a poor, young woman. He is a God who, when faced with the problem of His children's suffering, deigns to take it upon Himself by becoming one of them. He is a God who approaches His most famous victory "as a lamb led to the slaughter." He fights by forgiving. He defends by restraining Himself. He conquers by dying.

This radically humble God promised never to leave us, and on multiple occasions in Scripture describes the way He will remain with us. He remains on earth not as a ruler on a throne, but as bread on an altar. He becomes food for sacrifice; He becomes a life source for us, so small we can consume Him, so powerful He can enliven our dead hearts.

We worship a God who is humble. Take a second to let the beautiful irony of that reality sink in. We pour out our worship to a God who has poured out His riches and clothes Himself in humility.

And this love, indeed, is extravagant. Those who seek excitement and adventure need not set their desires aside to approach this God of humble wonders. He quiets us in His love (Zephaniah 3:17), but this is not a muting of our wants. This is a quenching of our deepest thirst.

We long to be truly loved, and God has done everything He can to meet this longing. He has responded to our deepest need and our deepest yearning. He has become so small we could easily crush Him, and He knows that. But He also knows that without this radical humility, His life would be inaccessible to us. And what He wants more than anything is to be intimately known by us.

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