Monday, April 9, 2012

Name Above All Names

The humility of God in Christ is one of my favorite themes to meditate on in worship. In my undergrad religious studies (at a liberal arts university), we took a look at Philippians 2:5-11 in the context of discussing the Christian understanding of Christ's divinity. My professor suggested that Paul didn't quite think of Christ as divine, but only that he operated as a sort of second Adam. Where Adam failed (in that he sought equality with God by eating of the forbidden fruit), Jesus succeeded in expressing humility. But by denying that Paul believed in Christ's divinity (a view I clearly disagree with but can't get into at the moment!), my professor's view only went a third of the way in explaining the humility of Christ on display in this passage.

The first step in Christ's humility is already evident in what my professor said: Adam considered equality with God something to be grasped, while Christ did not. This is a beautiful truth, but we must go a step further: Adam was a man who considered equality with God something to be grasped, while Christ was God, and yet emptied himself. Adam sought to grasp at what he could never attain, sought to steal divinity. Christ freely laid aside what was his by right.

But to fully understand Christ's humility, we must go even one more step further. Not only was Christ God who became man, who humbled himself in his incarnation. Even further, he humbled himself by experiencing the greatest humiliation that man could experience in death. He humbled himself unto death, "even death on a cross." While undergoing the excruciating pain of death on the the cross, Jesus was made a public spectacle to be mocked.

One of my pastors is currently working through the book of Philippians, and when he came to this passage he emphasized that while we have here a beautiful discription of Christ's humility, and a corrsponding exhortation to worship him as the Name above all names, the primary purpose for which Paul writes these words is to implore his readers to imitate Christ's humility: "In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God..." This song went through a number of editing phases, and the final addition was the bridge, in response to this point made by my pastor. I wanted to include some words that the church could sing as a declaration that we would choose the way of Christ's humility, that we would choose to make ourselves servants, having his same attitude, and therin finding a true fellowship with our humble savior.

But our humble Savior is now highly exalted. And so we do declare his Name to be above every name, and we look for the day when every knee will bow, "in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."

Verse 1:
Jesus, You are God among us
C Em
You are God's own radience
C Dsus D
Light of the world
Jesus, how You condescended
C Em
Holy God of heaven
C Dsus D
You are the Lord

Am7 G/B C D
You became nothing, broken to love me
Am7 G/B C
Even to death on a cross
Am7 G/B C D
Tempted as I am, You were obedient
Am7 G/B C
Faithful and true Son of God

Chorus: G D/F# Em C
You are the Name above all names
You are the One Ancient of Days
You are the One my heart will praise
Jesus I love You
At Your Name every knee will bow
All of creation will cry out
You are the One my heart will crown
Jesus I love You

Verse 2:
Jesus, You took on my weakness
Made in human likness
Servant of all
Jesus, risen and victorious
Glory in the highest
You are enthroned

Bridge: G D/F# Em C
Jesus I love You, I want to be like You
Having this attidude, I'm serving beside You
Jesus I love You, I want to be with You
Having the attidude, I'm dying to find You

Monday, April 2, 2012

Yeshua Ha'Mashiach

"Yeshua Ha'Mashiach" is Hebrew for "Jesus Christ".

We just celebrated Palm Sunday, so I thought this would be an appropriate time to post this song. Before entering Jerusalem a final time, knowing that he was approaching his death, Jesus mourned over the city and said:

“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate. I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’” (Luke 13:34-35)

When the Jews waved Palm branches as Jesus rode into the city, it seems most of them were longing for the establishment of an earthly kingdom which would free them from Roman rule. As they shouted "Hosanna" (which means Save!), they were seeking temporal salvation from a temporal kingdom, but Jesus had a different agenda.

As we celebrated Palm Sunday this past weekend, we invited Christ to ride into our hearts, to sit on his rightful throne. We worshipped with the words "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord." We sought to align our lives with God's agenda rather than asking him to change his agenda to fit our lives. We declared Christ to be King of kings and our worship was a simple declaration of the salvation (Hosanna!) he has accomplished for us, by which we have been rescued from our spiritual bondage to sin and death.

I decided to include Jesus' Hebrew name in order to acknowledge that the Jews have a crucial role to play in the history of redemption, and their Covenant Lord is longing to redeem them through his Son Jesus. Jesus will not return again to Jerusalem until the Jews swear allegiance to him with the words "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord."

D Am7 Em7 G
Yeshua Ha'Mashiach, Jesus Christ our Lord
Yeshua Ha'Mashiach, You are God our saving One
Yeshua Ha'Mashiach, You will reign on David's throne
Yeshua Ha'Mashiach, We await the day You come

D C Em D
Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord (x4)

Hosanna, Hosanna
Our Messiah, we sing Hosanna