Does your God have the power to rise up himself, or do you have to put him in a high place?
Ten days ago, several of us from our local church zig-zagged through the local international marketplace here in Indianapolis to hang posters and distribute flyers for our English as a Second Language program. Within a few hours we had interacted with people from some fifteen different countries as we made our way to a few dozen restaurants, markets, tire shops, and hair-braiding salons.
On the community board in the Indian plaza, a poster (pictured above) caught my eye with the title “Parent's Worship Day.” A Hindu activist group has begun promoting Parent Worship Day as an alternative to Valentine’s Day. Next to the poster was a sheet with an eleven-step guide to worshiping your parents. Step number one was: “Make parents sit on a clean and high seat.”
Unsurprisingly, the remaining steps involved forehead markings, garlands of flowers, lamps, incense, circling the parents, bowing to them, recognizing their divinity as the givers of life, and vowing to serve them. Of course, nothing was said of sin, or guilt, or death. No solution was proposed for them. No hope was given that parents could deliver anyone from them.
Less than a week later, I heard Pastor Steve Rhoda preach at our presbytery meeting from Psalm 47 on Christ as the ascended King who is worthy of worship. Listen to it here. We sing praise and we worship because Jesus does not need us to make him “sit on a clean and high seat” – he took care of that himself by rising from the grave and ascending to heaven to sit at the throne of God. The eternal Son of God who became man needed no human help to conquer sin and death and rise to that position of regal authority. Jesus reigns. He did not need us to prop him up on the throne, and he is not teetering on the edge of his seat fearful that we will knock him off.
Four Indians sat a few rows in front of me as I listened to Psalm 47 preached. Within the hour, the presbytery licensed one of them, a student of theology, to preach the gospel. Licensures happen regularly, but this was the first Hindu convert ever licensed to preach (of which I am aware) by our denomination. Yes friends, Jesus is quite secure on his throne. He will make his power known by saving from their idolatry those who worship gods that are no gods at all.
If you are worshiping your parents, or anything else that needs to be propped up by your own hands or by human wisdom, know this, the Lord reigns! And he beckons you to repent and worship him. The greatest thing any parent can do for his or her child is to get off of his or her clean and high seat and worship the living, true, and person God of the Bible.
If you are excited that Jesus is raising up messengers of his grace to serve in places like India; pray that God will give his servants strength. Pray too that God would convert those who are coming from India as we minister through ESL and in other ways.