By now, if you know me or have been following my blog, you know that I’m a big fan of contemporary Christian music. Casting Crowns is one of my favorite bands in that genre. And the title for today’s entry is the name of one of their songs; it’s a great meditation song.
The video quotes Ephesians in the New Testament, but I think more of the Old Testament’s Psalm 8. In meditating on the majesty and power of All Mighty God, the psalmist asks ‘what are we (humans) that God is mindful of us, that God cares for us? God makes us “a little lower than the angels,” and He’s crowned us with glory and honor, and has “put everything” else beneath us for us to take care of and protect.’ I’m paraphrasing there, but you get the idea.
Who are we? Who am I? It’s a question worth pondering and, indeed, one we should all contemplate at some point in our lives, maybe more than once, to reassess if we are remembering that we are “here today and gone tomorrow,, a “vapor in the wind.” (More Scripture allusions.) If we are here such a short time in the context of eternity, why does God care for us? What are we to make of that? Well, for me, it only makes sense if we are destined for eternity. The Eternal made us flesh and blood and that human body is sanctified by the incarnation of Jesus Christ, true God and true man. So our humanity has dignity not only because God “loved us into being” (Love that phrase!Here’s a homily about it here. https://www.ncronline.org/blogs/peace-pulpit/god-loved-us-first-he-waits-us-acknowledge-him), but even more compelling, The Person of Jesus Christ was born into our world; He lived and died among us.
We are here because God loves us enough to create us and then to send His Son to suffer and die for us, to redeem us. But, the most amazing thing is, when Jesus is raised from the dead, He overcomes Death for us forever. Backwards and forwards, all around. We are made for more than this! We are made for perfection in the love of God, who is Love itself, by the way. (Mentioned in the homily above, 1 John 4:8.) We can be grateful for that or we can shun it, but I choose gratitude.
Today “mindfulness” is a great buzzword for the culture. It really means being thoughtful in the true sense of the word – thinking of others first, thinking of the consequences of our actions, thinking about why we do anything that we do for others and/or ourselves and being grateful for the gifts we’ve been given. But to whom are you grateful? If it’s not God, then I really don’t know why one bothers with gratitude at all. If we don’t see Christ in our fellow human beings, why are we kind to them at all? Why do we suffer patiently if not for the suffering of Jesus? The things we have, our very existence, are not ours by any right we have. Once we are alive we now have rights, unalienable ones, actually. But those are all God-given. And no one can take them away. Not really.
Life? If I have eternal life given to me extravagantly by the Father who mercifully and completely loves us, no one can take that life.
Liberty? I am always free to love and worship God, to love others, to love myself. I am free to think whatever thoughts I want, even if I am punished somehow for things I might say.
Pursuit of happiness? Happiness that Jesus expresses in the Beatitudes (see the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew’s Gospel) is not the “everything is awesome” kind of mortal happy that is fleeting. True happiness is spiritual and tied to the certain Hope we have in Jesus Christ. This is not our Home – no matter how wonderful our lives are or how terrible. This is not the end. So let us “rejoice in the Lord always. I say it again, Rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4). That’s real happiness, knowing that nothing that happens here on earth can ever reach the joy and peace we will know basking in God’s love and mercy ‘up close and personal.’
Because Jesus is our Brother (Hebrews 2:10-16), we are heirs to that inheritance that is to come. The Lord of all creation is our God and Jesus is His Son. Now, I know that God does not have a gender, though we mostly use the masculine pronoun to talk about Him (See?). But Jesus calls God Father and so, that’s good enough for me.
So if God is the King of all in every age, and Jesus is our Brother, we are royalty! And not any earthly princes and princesses, but Heavenly!
Who am I? I’m a daughter of the King. And you are the King’s son or daughter, too! How could you not be happy? How could you not feel liberated? How could you not rejoice in the everlasting life to come because of the certain Hope we have in Jesus Christ?
Give a listen to the song and be able to answer that question, humbly, who you are because of who God is. If you don’t remember – I know this is kind of long – God is love.