O Come, Let Us Adore Him
I have a friend who is a professional musician. To be specific, a professional classical musician. She has studied and worked in the field for years, and served as conductor of one of Canada’s symphony orchestras. She is a precise and masterful pianist, and a passionate educator. She takes all things musical very seriously.
A few years ago she was in a class I was leading. We were studying what the Scriptures say about the Holy Spirit. As the class began, I decided to make a point – one that I knew she would make for me (even though I gave her no advanced warning).
As the class began I asked her, “Michelle, of all the composers you have studied, who is your favourite?” After a few moments of musing aloud as to how difficult the question was, she settled on Brahms. Then I asked, “Tell the class what it is about Brahms that gives him such an elevated place in your mind.” She squared her shoulders and took on the persona of a conductor and talked about Brahms. It was clear that she loved Brahms. She talked about the symmetry of his compositions, his clarity and sensitivity, his power and capacity to layer musical themes, and his compositional perfections. It was brilliant.
I thanked her and then asked a second question. “You are not only a professional musician, you are a mother. You have a daughter named Elly, don’t you? Tell us what you love about Elly.”
Before our eyes, this articulate musician transformed into an adoring parent. She sat forward and with an almost blushing smile began to tell us about her little girl — a child who was witty and winsome, scary smart, insightful, thoughtful and imaginative. The smile never left her face, except when, with an upward gaze and furrowed brow, she thought aloud about how God had crafted this mysterious and unique little girl, shaping a personality of virtues and curiosities, loves and fears, wonder and whimsy, constructing something much more complex and beautiful than the sum of its parts. Without warning or cue, my friend had made my point perfectly. It was delightful.
I thanked her. Then paused.
“My goal in our time together,” I said, “is that you will come to love God not only in the way that Michelle loves Brahms, but in the way that Michelle loves Elly.”
We have written in other parts of this site about some of the goals and aspirations of those who write for us. We know the dangers for anyone who writes theology. It is possible to write well-crafted sentences that are both accurate and precise, but in the end leave the reader knowing God only as Michelle knows Brahms.
We long for something more. Yes, we want to write articles that are biblically faithful. Yes, we want to teach people more about the content of scripture. Yes, we want our readers to come to know and understand who God is. But what we hope, what we pray, is that God will also use our words to cause our readers to love Him. That we will not simply engage their minds, but stir their hearts. That when they speak of God, it will be with blushing smiles, far-away gazes and pensive pauses – with the wonder and words of true intimacy – words that are only used when one speaks of someone they adore.
How well we accomplish this is something we will rarely be in a position to accurately assess. So, we write as best we can and we place our hope in the God who can captivate hearts.
“One of the great dangers in theology is making our faith something we discuss rather than something that moves us. We lapse into this problem when we treat God as the mere object of our study rather than as the Lord we worship.” ~ Kelly Kapic, A Little Book for New Theologians, p.64