A Foundation of Praise
gratitude & hoopla is still quite young, and I have by no means found my stride yet. I do know that it is fundamentally about praise. Whatever else it might become, that is its fundamental ground, its foundation. Praise of God and celebration of his wonders.
Celebration of this kind is clearly a spiritual discipline. We stand, each moment, at the turning point between all that has been, and all that shall be, and into that sometimes frightening moment God speaks the words, "Fear not, for I am with you." We can receive that message and trust it only because we have seen His goodness, and known His power, and discovered that, through every circumstance, the Lord of all creation is for us. And so, we praise Him!
Yesterday I listened to a wonderful message from Gordon Fee, preached at a Vineyard national conference back in May. Fee spoke about the foolishness and scandal of the cross of Christ. It is God's utterly repulsive solution to the problem of our sin. The thing is, our own coping strategies are never as foolish as God's or as scandalously humiliating. Oh, we may be willing perhaps to sacrifice something, but never as God sacrificed. That's insane, and it's awful, and our instinct is to cry, no, the situation can't be quite that bad. Because the most scandalous, the most awful and repulsive part is this: it was all on our behalf. It was the only solution to the problem that we created. And however much we might hide from the fact, we know deep down that we have not deserved that even one drop of Christ's blood be shed for us, or one moment of that humiliation be endured on our behalf. It all seems so . . . not right. Praise God, for He chose the foolishness and scandal of the horrible cross, so that we might live with him forever.
If you've got an hour, sit down and listen to Fee's message. You will not regret it.