Here God, Take My Arm - Literally!
Stunned, I stared in incredulity at a image -- taken somewhere in the enormousness of Republic Of India -- printed in a National Geographic. Incredibly, it showed the "sacrifice" a adult male had made for "god". With a begging bowl on the route between his knees, bare but for a loincloth, he sat with his right arm sticking straight up into the air over his head. An arm, dried and stiffened, frozen immovably in that raised position.
Years before, this adult male had felt obligated to "honor" the "god" he worshipped with a "sacrifice". Apparently wanting to do it a very personal and serious "sacrifice", he decided to "give his right arm to god". Elevation his arm toward the sky, he never brought it down. Food flowing was insufficient. He may even have got restricted blood circulation artificially. But the photograph showed incontrovertible cogent evidence of the devotedness he felt for his "god" - his arm had go a withered stick. A os covered with mummified flesh. Grotesque.
The New Testament says, "The forfeits that heathens make, are offered to demons, not to God." [1 Corinthians 10.20] Surely this man's "god" received the deceived man's offering with delight.
People often kick about how "Godless" our state have become. Maybe it has, maybe it hasn't. But at least there is a wide-ranging understanding of Who Supreme Being is and what He is like -- and most people in United States would state that any "god" who pleases in a forfeit that cripples his worshiper, is no "god" at all!
Yet I've been "crippled" in my "worship" of Supreme Being -- I've "sacrificed" something I thought would delight Him.
What have got I "sacrificed"? I've "sacrificed" my feelings. My sensibilities.
Raised in Christian churches all my life, through 100s of sermons, preacher men told me that true "faith" in Supreme Being is unemotional. That my "feelings" don't "count". That Iodine can only "safely know" Supreme Being through theology, through my mind and my intellect. Supreme Being is invisible so obviously (they said) no 1 can "sense" or "see" or "feel" Him.
One of the old anthems of the Christian church is called, "In the Garden". I grew up listening to warnings about that hymn! I remember one preacher man who said there wasn't a "single, theological doctrine" in the full song.
What makes this anthem talking about? It speaks about how sweet it is to pass clip every twenty-four hours in the caring Presence of Jesus. It's forbear goes: "And He walks with me and He speaks with me!" It states Jesus' Voice is so "sweet" that even the "birds stillness their singing". It paints a image of an intimate, personal human relationship with Jesus Of Nazareth that's very, very emotional. Very "sensory". The preacher man who "warned" us about that hymn, obviously never "walked in the Garden" with Jesus Of Nazareth Of Nazareth -- the Very Person he claimed to "love"!
In fact, I grew up hearing warnings about those people who name themselves "Christian" but who are "caught up in emotionalism". They acquire carried away with their feelings, working themselves into a soapsuds in their exhilaration over God.
So, in response to the instructions I received, I "sacrificed" my emotional responses. I "gave them up for Jesus". My divinity rejected it. My "church decorum" didn't let it.
Years ago, a book commented that 11 A.M., Lord'S Day morning, is the strangest hr in America. The writer said that in that hr of church, across the United States, people sit down inside houses of "worship", surrounded by stained glass mental images depicting narratives of the mighty plant of God. But sitting there, surrounded by the most powerful, sacred mental images known to adult male -- the people practice feeling nothing.
Well, I practiced feeling nil for many years. But in the last few years, God's made it clear that sacrificing my emotional responses to His Person and His Presence, was not a forfeit pleasing to Him!
It's very much like that old married couple in "Fiddler On the Roof". He asks, "Do you love me?" and she said, "You old sap -- of course Iodine love you." "But," he persists, "do you love me?" She says, "For all these old age I've cooked your food, raised your children, cleaned your house -- isn't it obvious I love you?"
That's fair, in a sense. After all, "love" have to include loving actions or it's not real. But romance is different. Love Affair necessitates plenty of loving actions accompanied by emotional intimacy.
What make you believe will go on in any matrimony where the adult male and adult female pattern feeling numb? One of them begins to acquire a small excited about the other, and acquires warned, "Watch out! Calm down! Emotionalism, it's dangerous! Here -- let's analyze our matrimony vows again -- let's reconsider the theological significance of, "I pledge thee my troth"...
Practicing the restraint of our natural, emotional responses to a Supreme Being Who manifests Himself to us in so many fantastic ways is NOT a "sacrifice" He desires us to make. To suppress our emotional responses to Supreme Being is as monstrous as what the adult male in Republic Of India did with His arm. A Christian who cannot cry for joyousness in response to one of God's mighty plant is far, far from being like Jesus.
Jesus showed us His Father. Desire to cognize what Supreme Being is like? Look at Jesus. Jesus Of Nazareth came (says the Gospels of John) to demo us Supreme Being the Father. And in Saint Luke 10.21, when His adherents came back from traveling throughout State Of Israel -- driving out demons, healing the ill and otherwise proclaiming the Kingdom of Supreme Being -- it states us of Jesus' excited, emotional response.
There, the Bible reads, "In that hr Jesus Of Nazareth Of Nazareth rejoiced in the Spirit." In the original linguistic communication of Greek, the word used for "rejoiced" come ups from a word meaning, "to jump, to leap, to springtime up and spin around around"! The Weymouth interlingual rendition gives it as, "On that same juncture Jesus Of Nazareth Of Nazareth Of Nazareth was filled by the Holy Place Spirit with rapturous joy." Apparently, in the human face of Satan's shattering licking by Jesus' disciples, Jesus was jumping and leaping and whirling about in rapturous joy!
The adult male in Republic Of India with the withered arm? Unfortunately, even if he went to the physician and tried to, he wouldn't be able to acquire it down and working again. But my "withered worship"? God have healed it. I'm released to love Him. I can show my responses to the fantastic Presence of Supreme Being according to how I feel. In my modern times of private supplication or in public worship, I can laugh, shout, leap and spin around about (I haven't got that down yet, but if Jesus Of Nazareth can, so can I!) I can even be quiet. I can even weep when I feel the Spirit of the Godhead on me. Sometimes I weep for joy, sometimes I feel the broken Heart of Supreme Being and "join Him" in His tears.
One adult male I know, who came to cognize Jesus Of Nazareth late in life, said he'd never cried even one rupture for over thirty years. But after coming to cognize Jesus, he wept every clip he stood worshipping in church. He felt embarrassed, as if a "real man" wouldn't shout -- especially in public.
I don't cognize about whether "real men" eat Quiche or not. But I make cognize this: Real Number work force worship Supreme Being with complete abandonment.