Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Our God - Chris Tomlin - Passion 2010

And if our God is for us,
then who could ever stop us
And if our God is with us,
then what can stand against?

These most powerful words come from Chris Tomlin's, "Our God" based on Romans 8.

In the song it seems to serve as strictly a rhetorical question. In the tradition of the Black Church, and even as it was chanted at the Tobacco Trail Church this past Sunday, it often has the same tone--uplifting, rejuvenating, acting and voicing that if God is purposing our lives than what can stand against us.

But it's not always that simple. Matthew 19 tells of a man who stopped Jesus and asked, "Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?" Jesus said, "Why do you question me about what's good? God is the One who is good. If you want to enter the life of God, just do what he tells you."
The man asked, "What in particular?"
Jesus then lists off some of the majors, no murder, no adultery, no stealing, but the man says he's been faithful to these laws and begs the question: "What's left?"
Jesus then really lets him and us have it in terms of what stands against us, as the song reminds.
"If you want to give it all you've got," Jesus replied, "go sell your possessions; give everything to the poor. All you wealth will then be in heaven. Then come follow me."
The man sighed a big sigh and with his chest and chin hanging on the ground he slipped away. As Peterson says in The Message, "He was holding on tight to a lot of things, and he couldn't bear to let go."
That's what stands against us, despite God being for us--all the things that possess us. And it's not just wealth, though that is high on the list. It's violence, and sexual sin, deception, loss of family, and hatred of the neighbor in our midst. How do we give up these possessions?
I don't really know. I'm trying to give them up every day with God's help. Thanksgiving is a good start--a time to share food, family, and friends. Advent is even better--a time for renewed hope for that child coming who stands for GOD WITH US.
See, this Emmanuel child means that despite my not knowing God knows. God is for us and while we feel the weight of all that possesses against us, he promises to be faithful to his people. We are riding out a powerful storm and remember that he will bring us safely to the other shore.
Confess, Repent, Swim Across to that other bank.
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