Monday, May 30, 2011

Children of Iluvatar

"And it came to pass that Iluvatar called together all the Ainur and declared to them a mighty theme, unfolding to them things greater and more wonderful than he had yet revealed; and the glory of its beginning and the splendor of its end amazed the Ainur, so that they bowed before Iluvatar and were silent."

- Ainulindale: The Music of the Auin
J.R.R. Tolkien

I've come across many passages like this as I've worked my way through some of Tolkien's additional works about Middle-Earth. I finished The Silmarillion a few weeks ago and am now only a few pages away from completing Unfinished Tales (no pun intended). The references to the mythical Iluvatar (the great and holy creator god of Middle-Earth and all that dwells within), are always written with the utmost poetic reverence. Everything from elves, to men, to Istiri, and Valar are resolute in demonstrating the highest, solemn respect towards the One who sits upon the highest throne. It's actually given me a fair amount to think about when I consider how I understand reverence towards the one true God of the Bible. I sometimes think that perhaps in disguising it as "Grace-based communion", I am actually living a lifestyle that proclaims that daily devotion to Christ is less important than work, family, entertainment, business, or however many of the other distractions that pervade my life. Where is that reverence that causes me to regard Christ as King and Lord over the whole earth? What is wrong in my heart when the sacrifice he made to usher me into his presence, in face of his transcendence, has me regarding Him less, and "stuff" more? Who answers to who here anyways?

"But the LORD is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him."
- Habakkuk 2:20


Jake Rivers

Monday, May 23, 2011

Top Ten

For a couple of weeks now I've been trying to scheme ways to maintain discipline in writing and blogging. As was unfortunately typical, the designs never made it off the drawing board. This past week was a pretty eventful one for me. It marked not only the 2 year milestone from when Ash and I started dating (May 22), but also the ten year anniversary of my coming to Christ (May 19).
To be perfectly honest my original aspiration was to let loose with some mind-shattering, literary masterpiece that would elevate me overnight into blogger-of-the-year. Sadly after several hours of attempts over the past few days, all I've gathered is that good writing never finds its origin solely in a desire to produce good writing. To be more to the point, I rarely have difficulty with ideas for things to write about, it's just a matter of overcoming my obnoxious ego to get there.
With that said, here are at least 10 subjects that have had the greatest impact on me over the past 10 years of following Christ. 10 things of which I am committed to continue growing in my understanding.

1. Grace - An offense to pride, and the only firm foundation
2. Humility - If maturity is a feast, humility is your plate
3. The Call to Mission - Created in Jesus Christ to do good works
4. Total Depravity - Sinners need a Saviour
5. The Biblical Narrative - The Word of God stands firm
6. Spiritual Leadership - Passion, vision, towels and basins
7. The Church - Home away from home
8. Death - The final enemy, reduced to an empty tomb
9. The Sovereignty of God - Unshaken through the storms
10. Marriage - The Gospel wrapped around my finger

Happy Long Week-end!


Jake Rivers