Thursday, 17 November 2011

Every knee shall bow

'Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.'

Philippians 2:9-12 NIV


I'm not sure that there's anything else worth saying. 

But still, I have more to say. Why are you not surprised?

This morning I had a tune in my head and it was the tune to the famous hymn written around these words. I identified the tune, hummed it, brought to mind which words I could remember and had a little sing to myself in the shower and it grew and grew in my head. 

At the name of Jesus, every knee shall bow,
Every tongue confess him king of glory now;
'Tis the Father's pleasure we should call him Lord,
Who from the beginning was the mighty Word.

I'm looking forward to that day. When every knee bows at your name, Lord Jesus. In heaven, where the angels bow down already; what a day that'll be up there. Down here on this troubled, tired and fearful world, and in the other place as well where I'm guessing that there won't be much celebrating when you come back. Oh Jesus, oh for that day when the whole of creation acknowledges you. What a day that will be.

That day the tension between your Kingdom and this world will be gone. I know that you won't come back as a helpless baby in a stable; there won't be any doubt about who you are or why you've come or any room for interpretation. You will be magnificent. You will come in all your glory. It will be beyond our imagination and it will be unmistakably you. The whole world will know that you are the Lord. 

Lord, when will that be?  There are a lot of times that I am completely at home here; quite possibly too much so. It's often comfortable and easy and complacent and I sit tight in my familiar little world being very much at home. And then...just sometimes... I feel out of place. I find it very hard being here and believing in you and looking around me at all the people who wave you away as irrelevant, or even worse than irrelevant. At all the rubbish that's happening in the world and trying to fathom why you sometimes intervene and sometimes you don't. Looking at the pain and misery and fear and evil and trying in my small, mostly ineffectual way to combat the things close to home. Trying to get it right. Trying to be tactful and understanding and tolerant and loving while standing firm for you; not being shaken by what I don't understand, by other people's challenges or scepticism. Knowing what I know with all my heart and so often failing to communicate that when I should.

I can't wait for the day when I can just sit at your feet and look at you. For the day when it's all out in the open, all there for all to see - that you are the name above all names and there is no-one like you. 

That you are God. The beginning and the end. That all the other things are irrelevances. Nothing else matters.  

Down here other things do matter, Father, and sometimes I find myself bogged down in trivia and unable to separate the real from the imaginary. Worrying, lying awake, trying to get my prayers to express what I want to say to you, giving up and focusing on myself instead - every day falling short of what I would give you if I could. But here's the thing - you love me anyway. My little half-buried sparks of longing to do the right thing - you dig them out and brush them off and treat them as treasure. I take little baby steps and you are delighted in them. You take my life and you hold it in your hands and you love me, imperfect as I am. One day I will be what you want me to be; I will be transformed. The useless stuff hindering me will fall away and all that will be left is the person you created me to be.

Me and an endless sea of perfect creations without any pain or dissatisfaction or unease or self consciousness or worry or tension. Triumphant and full of joy.  

At the name of Jesus, every knee shall bow. I know that this day will come. In this world or the next? Only you know the answer to that one. I don't know if it will only be when I am with you in Heaven and I am surrounded by all the people who have ever loved you. I shall do as they do. I shall find St Paul and ask him about so many things. I shall find doubting Thomas and thank him for making me feel so much better about myself.  I shall find Peter and tell him what an inspiration he's been. I shall find Martha and tell her I find it hard to sit and listen as well. I shall find Moses and David and Abraham and Joshua and Solomon and James and Mary and all the others and I shall probably not have the courage to talk to them. Or maybe I will. Maybe I'll be one of them. 

But I'm starting to ramble. 

...and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.'

You are Lord. You are the glorious Lord and one day the whole of creation will see your glory and fall at your feet and that's how it should be. 

Brothers, this Lord Jesus shall return again,
With his Father's glory, with his angel train;
For all wreaths of empire meet upon his brow,
And our hearts confess him King of glory now.

Let your kingdom come, Lord Jesus. 

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