Inspiration, Encouragement & Instructions
". . . let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."
(Hebrews 12:1, NIV)
(Hebrews 12:1, NIV)
Advent Week 4
Just incase you missed them, here is Advent Week 1 (Peace), and Advent Week 2 (Hope). and Advent Week 3 (Faith).
Adoration: 1. deep love and respect. 2. worship; veneration.
A few years ago, my husband and I made our way through theNetflix series, The Crown, which portrays the life of Queen Elizabeth II from her wedding in 1947 to Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, until the early 21st century. I knew little of Queen Elizabeth and had spent a summer in Europe during college, so both the story and the backdrop of each show intrigued me.
The portrayal of the “hidden” lives of royalty opened my eyes to the heavy burden and divine calling that rested on the shoulders of the Queen. I had never considered the reality of how she must have felt: to be Queen was to obey God and to lead her people and the church. And though we have long since parted ways with a monarchy government, there was something I admired about her belief that God set her in her place, and to lead was her fate.
This Queen held much power, and carried a heavy burden. The cost of her calling was beyond what many of us could comprehend. And in her role, she had to choose who she would listen to, who she would let in. To spend time with the Queen was not for just anyone. One must be summoned or invited. This was both out of safety, and also as a protection of her time--she had a country to run and a church to be the head of (not to mention that she was also a wife and a mother).
The tradition of a king or queen not allowing just anyone to come into his or her court is not new. In fact, in the time of Esther, to go to the King without an invitation was in itself and invitation to death. Whether this was for protection or to demonstrate one’s ultimate power over all, I do not know. But it was understood that to come to the King was not for peasants, or even the Queen. As a 21st century American white, women, I can admit that I honestly do not know that I actually comprehend the power and respect allotted to a leader of a monarchy.
Neither my imagination nor my emotions can set themselves in the place of Esther, nor the throne of Queen Elizabeth. And I so badly want to be able to. I want to feel and imagine what they felt and saw. Not because I think that was a better time or something to return to. Nope. Rather, because I am beginning to see that my limited understanding of kingship, and all that goes with it, is limiting my ability to appreciate Jesus as King--the ultimate power and authority, the governor of the world and my heart.
Additionally, my limited experience with earthly, authoritative kingship decreases the greatness of Jesus’ way of ruling, not as kings of the past, but as a perfect savior and protector. A king born in such humble circumstances that even animals were invited to be witnesses to his birth. It is the contrast of Jesus to the kingship of the world that would have astonished those who knew him and knew what it was like to live under the rule of an earthly king.
As one so far removed from a government built around a king, when I sing, “O’ come let us adore him,'' I don’t know that I really understand the contrast this is to all the other kings. No one could just come and adore him, they had to be invited.
As Christians raised in a time of freedom and democracy, do we know the brevity of our request? In any other time period, to ask to come to the King would be, not just out of place, but un-allowed and even dangerous. It is the contrast of earthly kingship and divine kingship that makes Jesus worthy of all of our praise and greatest adoration. And a part of my soul is sad because I know I don’t get it--I can’t comprehend how Jesus changed the definition of kingship.
And yet, someday I will. Someday I will be in his presence and there will be nothing holding me back from full and complete understanding, leading me to un-abandoned adoration and worship. Someday, those who have invited Jesus to be the King of our heart, will get to come and adore him fully, and never have to leave.
And so this advent, when I sing, “O’ come let us adore him,” I beg my soul to mean what I say: Jesus, please come. Please, come and let us live in the endless days of adoring you. Please, come and be King, forever and ever.
We are all built to adore, it was set in us at the beginning of time. So, we will all look and find things to adore. But my prayer this holiday season is that if your heart isn’t currently set on adoring Jesus, that he would reveal himself to you, and in that moment your soul would know that you were made to adore him. And that whenever you hear, “O’ come let us adore him,” you would know that he isn’t a king that demands you only come when invited. Instead, he is a king who wants you to know you are known and loved by him. He is for you. He is the God of angel armies. And he welcomes you always.
Table Talk: Prompts to talk about Adoration around the table
This week, take a dinner-time one night and talk about the following at home:
Her family and friends know her as, Jaci. She is the wife of a pastor, a mom of four, writing and communications education instructor, a visionary and an avid runner. As a firm believer in the power and effectiveness of the body of Christ united together to live out the Great Commission, she holds fast to this verse, "Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations" (Matthew 28:19). Of equal importance to her are these words, "...let us run with endurance the race that is set before us" (Hebrews 12:1).
Posts in the Run for Your Life, series: