Sunday, February 2, 2014

A "Roots" Moment

It has been some time since I have written. My life has been consumed basking in the afterglow of the Advent season, the birth of our first grandchild and how God pulled all the symbolism of those two events together in my life. Following Advent, the pastor of our current church began a new preaching series entitled, "Big Life." The heart and soul of this series is focused on deepening and understanding our relationship with the Creator of the universe. At one point during his first sermon in the series, the pastor was talking about the experience of welcoming his son into the world. He said it reminded him of the recurrent scene in Alex Haley's miniseries "Roots." For those too young to remember, "Roots" was a powerful and groundbreaking series. It chronicled the historic family background of author Alex Haley adapted from his book, "Roots." The movie looked at Haley's family tree from the horrors of slavery to freedom. The main character of the series was Kunta Kinte, the African slave forcibly brought to America. The series then followed the generations that came after him. The recurrent scene that our pastor found so powerful had to do with birth. Each time a child was born, the tradition that began with Kunta Kinte was to take the child outside on a dark starry night. The parent lifted the child up and declared, "Behold, the only thing greater than yourself!" The reference of course was to God being that "Greater thing." Following the pastor's sermon I began to hear the echos of Kunta Kinte's words resonating in my spirit. I was drawn to Psalm 8. Psalm 8 is a praise from the lips of David in celebration of God's greatness and ordering of creation. It dovetails in many ways with Genesis 1:1-28. The NIV note of introduction to this Psalm captures that "Kunta Kinte" experience. The note references the Genesis passage but goes on to state, "David speaks out of his present experience of reality (perhaps on a bright, clear night when the vast host of the heavenly lights, stretching from horizon to horizon, erased from his musings small everyday affairs and engaged his mind with deeper thoughts). Two matters especially impressed him: (1) the glory of God reflected in the starry heavens, and (2) the astonishing condescension of God to be mindful of puny man, to crown him with glory almost godlike and to grant him lordly power over His creatures." This is the "Roots" experience. This is how Jesus holds up those who love Him, His children, before God the Father. Imagine Jesus holding you up under a star lit night and declaring, "Behold, the only thing greater than yourself!" What a privilege and honor God has given us! What mercy and grace we have received! Take the time to read Psalm 8 and fix the image of being lifted up before the Father in your mind. You were born for "greatness" in Jesus Christ. It is not a greatness that comes from pride or arrogance but rather humility and love. It is the love of God the Father who knit you together in your mother's womb (Psalm 139:13) and placed you on earth for His glory. Ephesians 2:10 puts it this way, "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." If you have an experience like mine, you will be humbled and overwhelmed and declare with David, "O Lord, our Lord, How majestic is Your name in all the earth!" (Psalm 8:1,9)
To God be the glory!
Pastor Sheree 


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