In this season of resolutions and self-help, where we focus so heavily on ourselves, let’s delve into idolatry - putting something (or someone) else in the place of God.
These seven weeks are brought to you by Pastor Ricky Jacob, who serves the Native community of Winnebago, Nebraska.
Greetings to you in the Name of our Triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit!
I have been reading a book by Michael Lockwood, entitled 'The Unholy Trinity.' The Unholy Trinity is 'Me, Myself, and I.' [Much of what I will say today are direct quotes from his book as well as slight variations].
I begin today with this quote of Lockwood: “What a burden to grope vainly for an unknown god, and to have to invent ways to climb to him or please him!”
When it comes to the worship of God there are only two options. “Either we can know and worship God through [Jesus] Christ, or we can form our own faulty picture and vain worships of God apart from Christ [Jesus]. (157) … The goal of Christian proclamation is not to direct people to a generic god, but to a very specific God, the God who reveals himself to us in Jesus Christ. No other version of God will do…
“The problem is what people do with this knowledge, and how they suppress it, twist it, and distort it so that they can create their own god, even if in some cases it may be necessary to uncover this buried knowledge or refute the rationalizations people use to suppress it. The greater challenge is to give people an accurate picture of God in contrast to all the false pictures that abound. This means proclaiming Christ and allowing him to dethrone the idols. (158) …
“Many people in contemporary society think they can be spiritual without Christ. This amounts to a belief that the gap between God and us is small enough - that we can cross it on our own. For [Martin] Luther it is quite clear that all such spirituality lacks divine power, since only through the man Jesus do we have access to the triune God. Therefore any spirituality that we claim apart from Christ must be either an expression of the human spirit or the product of an evil spirit.” (159)
One's faith “is absolutely central to humanity, so that we need faith in Jesus Christ to be truly human. Only through Christ, the perfect image of God, can God's image be renewed in us so that we are restored to what God originally created us to be.” (160)
I end where I began: “What a burden to grope vainly for an unknown god, and to have to invent ways to climb to him or please him!” But how liberating to know and worship the God who comes down to me and is pleased with me through Christ.
This has been Pastor Ricky Jacob of Jesus Our Savior Lutheran Church and preschool, of Winnebago. I close with the words from 1st John: “Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God."[1st John 4:2b–3a NIV]