Wednesday, January 22, 2014
It’s a daily struggle to put into practice what John the Baptist knew even before the cross – that, for Jesus to be lifted up to the ends of the earth, his followers must decrease, or deny self.
And it must be our joy to do so.
When John’s disciples saw the popularity of Jesus blossoming, and their own ministry beginning to take a back seat, they questioned the Baptist about what to do. John’s explanation was a “Jesus-like” metaphor. He told them the one who has the bride is the true groom. He said to his followers; think of me as the best man, the guy who stands next to the groom, ready to give the toast!
Can you raise a glass?
We live in a world that places a high importance on winning, being first. Vince Lombardi, legendary coach of the Green Bay Packers, is quoted as saying winning isn’t everything…it’s the only thing!
In a world where people will do anything for that “15 minutes of first-place fame”…
· Try out (badly) for American Idol
· Post outlandish photos on Facebook
· Party like tomorrow doesn’t matter….
….suggesting someone should take a back seat to anyone doesn’t get much traction.
But, for the Christian it is the key to everything in the Kingdom.
In marriage, which is the metaphor John the Baptist chose to define the church’s relationship with Christ, when the wife (or husband) chooses to “decrease” by lifting up her spouse, putting the husband first, elevating her love to serve and bless her life’s mate, the appropriate response of the husband is to elevate his wife even higher. Frankly, I have never met a married woman who wasn’t thrilled with her marriage if the man she was married to was willing to die for her!
Such is the way the bride of Christ and her Lord live. As the church lifts up Jesus, God causes the church to shine, which in turn lets the world see the beauty of Christ.
The Book of Common Prayer has a very “pray-able” petition for us to lift up:
Almighty God, whose Son our Savior Jesus Christ is the light of the world: Grant that your people, illumined by your Word and Sacraments, may shine with the radiance of Christ’s glory, that he may be known, worshiped, and obeyed to the ends of the earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
The prayer asks that we might shine – so that the world might see….Jesus!