Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, December 16, 2015
Poor. Powerless. Emptied of God-ness.
All-powerful, mighty, wielding authority. (One might be tempted to think that this was God Almighty!) But, no! What a juxtaposition. Poor, powerless. Just as the Apostle Paul states in the second chapter of Philippians, the Eternal Son (soon to be called Jesus) empties Himself willingly. He becomes a helpless baby born to a virgin in the small town of Bethlehem.
That power dynamic can be so tempting, so seductive. I have seen individuals get drunk on power. Have their heads swell with the bare thought of power and authority, not even the actuality of it. Dear Lord, preserve me from this insidious malady!
Over the centuries, the followers of Jesus have certainly come to grief over such a radical character flaw. Too bad that the quote (from Lord Acton) sprang to my mind so readily: “Power corrupts; and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
All I need do to see this demonstrated is look without doing much digging at all. Looking at the leaders of the Early Church, you would think that everyone—no matter their national origin, slave or free, color or creed—would live together in peace and harmony. But, no! The Gnostic and Arian controversies divided the Church (and believers) for several centuries. And that was just the beginning. Males gradually got more and more power and authority in the church. Over Adventpeople, places and things.
A quote from Henri Nouwen seems appropriate for us to consider. “What makes the temptation of power so seemingly irresistible? Maybe it is that power offers an easy substitute for the hard task of love. It seems easier to be God than to love God, easier to control people than to love people, easier to own life than to love life.”
Dear Lord, gracious God, help me love You more and more. The more I love God, the more I will come to see how much God wants me to be loving to others. So, help me, God. Please.
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