Saturday, April 26, 2008

Adoration as a Spritual Discipline

Adoration was the topic again the other night as a group of us met to look into the book, Disciplines for the Inner Life. I won't take the time here to reiterate the summary that our leader provided on his blog. Rather, I want to provide my thoughts on this topic.

First of all, the words "adore" or "adoration" do not appear in the Bible. At least not in the KJV. Adore does appear in the NIV. But it is in Song of Solomon and the context is not exactly what we were looking at. However, the concept of adoration of God is found throughout the Bible. But how do we get a handle on what it means to adore God?

My thoughts kept coming back to a truly secular example. I am not a huge art fan. But I enjoy some of the paintings of the masters. The modern stuff doesn't really do anything for me. In 2002 I was on an extended business trip in Europe. I had the good fortune to have a free week-end to spend and I spent it in the town of Antwerp, Belgium. This town had a beautiful old cathedral called the Cathedral of Our Lady. Inside near the altar was a triptych painting by Rubens. The theme of the triptych was Jesus being carried. In the small panel to the left Jesus is carried in Mary's womb as she visits her cousin Elizabeth. In the small panel on the right Jesus is carried to the temple by Mary and Joseph. The central panel has Jesus carried down from the cross.

I stood in awe in front of the painting. The subject, the beauty, the scene and the passion captured by Rubens caused me to stand in awe and adoration of that beautiful work of art.

There is nothing that painting can do for me. And there is nothing that I can do for that painting. And perhaps that is where the secular analogy breaks down. But I stood in awe of the painting because of what it was -- a fabulous and priceless work of art.

When I think of God and what adoration has to do with my relationship to God I find that my adoration is based upon who God is. It is not based upon what he has done, can do, or will for me. In short, it is the only reasonable response when I truly see God for who he is.

What does adoration mean to you? How does adoration manifest itself in your personal relationship with God?

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