Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Fall down and worship

"Adoration of the Magi" - Eugenio CAJÉS (1620s)

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Matthew 2:1-12

TO CHEW ON: "And when they had come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him." Matthew 2:11

"Worship"—proskuneo—is a fanatical word. It means literally to kiss toward (pros = toward, kuneo = kiss). [Proskuneo is translated to prostrate oneself, bow down, do obeisance, show reverence, do homage, worship, adore. Among Orientals, especially the Persians it means to fall upon the knees and touch the ground with the forehead as an expression of profound reverence.]

With this definition of worship in mind, imagine the scene of today's reading. Watch these exotic foreigners with their camel train, kingly wardrobe, regal bearing, and lavish packages, entering a humble Bethlehem house and falling face-down before—a child!

I love the contrast of these worldly-wise men abandoning themselves in adoration and reverence before this baby they believed was a divinely-born king. Much is implied by postures of worship (kneeling, lying face down, standing with hands raised): assuming a lower position than the one worshiped, abandoning pride, laying aside all personal dignity, and expressing helplessness. It brings me to the question, is my worship that complete and unselfconscious that I assume such postures?

A "Word Wealth" article on worship in my Bible says: "All believers have a one-dimensional worship, to the only Lord and Savior. We do not worship angels, saints, shrines, relics, or religious personages" - New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 1824.

We might also add, believers do not (or should not) worship money, success, fame, a relationship or person, possessions etc. For aren't we tempted to pay homage (perhaps not physically, but with our actions) to these things? I ask myself, do I truly worship Jesus, or something else?

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for the story of these wise worshipers. Help me to worship You with abandonment of a surrendered life. Amen.

MORE: Epiphany

Today the church celebrates the Feast of Epiphany. The liturgy for the day begins with this collect:
"O God, by the leading of a star you manifested your only Son to the peoples of the earth: Lead us, who know you now by faith, to your presence, where we may see your glory face to face; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen."

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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