..."and a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the way of holiness; evil minded people shall not travel on it, but it shall be for those wayfarers who are traveling toward God. (Isaiah 35:8, adapted)



Thursday, October 04, 2007

Called to Adore: the Beauty of Adoration

Called to Adore: the Beauty of Adoration

One of my favorite Christmas carols
is “O Holy Night.” I love the lyrics
“fall on your knees, O hear the angel’s
voices, O night divine, O night, when
Christ was born.” Last Christmas I
wanted to put this song on my blog so
I listened to all the versions of it
available on-line. Pavaratti’s verson
was magnificent. Another’s version was
homey. Still another version was inspiring,
and another’s sweet. But none captured what
I was looking for: one full of adoration.
Adoration like the magi might have had, or
Mary looking down at her new-born Baby.
Adoration at seeing the Heavenly Son of
God take on the humility of human flesh
and come to earth.

Adoration is a holy word, or should be.
One set aside for God alone. There are
two great passages of adoration that come
immediately to mind : one a microcosm, one
a macrocosm.

The macrocosm of adoration is this :

“After this I beheld, and, lo, a great
multitude, which no man could number, of
all nations, and kindreds, and people,
and tongues, stood before the throne,
and before the Lamb, clothed with white
robes, and palms in their hands; 10 And
cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation
to our God which sitteth upon the throne,
and unto the Lamb. 11 And all the angels
stood round about the throne, and about
the elders and the four beasts, and fell
before the throne on their faces, and
worshipped God, 12 Saying, Amen: Blessing,
and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving,
and honour, and power, and might, be unto
our God for ever and ever. Amen. (Revelation 7: 9-12).


Here are angels, mankind, elders and beasts
adoring God together. Here is the adoration’s
destiny and completeness!


The microcosm of adoration is this:

And she stood at his feet behind him weeping,
and began to wash his feet with tears, and did
wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed
his feet, and anointed them with the ointment
(Luke 7:38).


A simple definition of “adoration” is telling
God much how much we love Him. But that
“telling” is not really about words, it is
an inward action of the heart toward God:
a noticing and a heartfelt, heartful
acknowledgement of something that we inwardly
and gratefully experience of God’s nature and
character. It is not just a compliment
thrown in God’s direction or a little “thank you”
but it is something that opens our
heart and causes it to flow unreservedly toward God.

In the woman’s case in Luke’s gospel, tears flowed
out bringing forth the adoration that was in her
heart. It was not just the outward act that was
the adoration; it was an inward opening of heart
that caused the outward act to
have its power.

In true adoration inward feeling seeks expression
in outward manifestation, thus, when one truly
adores God, it may often lead to raising one hands,
falling on one knees, bowing, prostrating oneself,
and other offered acts of love born out of praise
for God’s good nature and bounty toward
the sons and daughters of men. Adoration is a
self-abasement before our Good, Holy, and
Incomparable God. It acknowledges happily:
“There is no-one like Him!” What can we do
but fall down and adore?

Jesus said, “They that worship the Father must
worship Him in Spirit and in truth” (John 4:24)
and the first commandment implores us to Love
(adore) God, with all our mind, soul and
strength (Deut 6: 5). Adoration is spiritual,
it is true, it is wholehearted and whole-bodied.
It is something like an inward hill melting like
wax at the Presence of the Lord. It is not something
that can be faked, but it is something that can be
cultivated.

How can shall we then cultivate it ?

The first thing we can do is bring ourselves to
an inward awareness of our Lord.
Our thoughts are often distracted, but if we take
a few deep breaths and inwardly put our
attention upon Christ, we will soon be aware
of His absolute beauty and loveliness.

Even if we feel distracted we can call out to Him
gently, “Lord Jesus, I adore all that You are!”
The Lord loves His children to express their love
and adoration to Him. He loves to love them back!
Perhaps we can use a bit of scripture to help us
adore Him:

“Ps 84:2 My soul longed and even yearned for
the courts of the Lord; My heart and my flesh
sing for joy to the living God.”

Ps 87:7 "All my springs of joy are in you."


Take the scripture and pray it simply toward God.

Or perhaps we can look at nature and see the mystery,
awe and wonder of who He is reflected there.
I am a photographer and often get “god-smacked’ when
I get behind the lens of a camera and frame something
of God’s wonder in the world. This is not God, is but
a mere reflection of Him, a mere work of His hands,
what must the Real One be like?

See if you can focus all of your sweet inward feelings
toward God into a few words that you can offer to Him
in adoration. You do not want to be too wordy, you want
rather to express that which lays deepest in your heart.
Sit with those feelings of adoration and they will bring
you quickly to the throne of God.

Keeping a soft heart and practicing an awareness of God
will help greatly. Turn toward Him for He is ever near,
and ever worthy of our adoration.

Think of a time when you have experienced adoration
toward God? What brought it about?

How did it affect you?

As an exercise let us offer adoration to God through

1) love for Him which spontaneously arises in our heart

2) the use of scripture

3) noticing the glory of what God has made in nature.

O come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord!



3 comments:

John Gillmartin said...

Beautiful!

Catherine said...

O to worship Him in spirit and in truth!

Desert Pilgrim said...

This is truly what it is all about, worship in spirit and in truth, whether we are alone or gathered with others. We await that Day when we will be in the heavenlies gathered unto this one purpose.