When I was in high school I had the opportunity to go to Spain for couple of weeks on vacation. Later, after college, I spent some time in Belgium. One of the memories that still sticks with me after all these years was visiting and touring some of the great, medieval cathedrals. Built centuries ago, they were huge, majestic, towering structures. The scale was so, so, so big that you felt so very small. But that was the point wasn’t it. They were intended to make you feel small, to give you a glimpse of the greatness of God and the smallness of us. Going into those cathedrals you couldn’t help but reflect on the majesty, the highness, the other-ness of God. It immediately re-oriented your focus from down here on us to up there on God.
Unfortunately, I think some in the modern church have lost a sense of that majesty and “highness” of God. We have become very familiar and informal with Him. We have emphasized so much the close, personal, intimate connection with God – and rightly so – that we have neglected His “full-of-awe-ness”. We refer to Him casually as our Father, but rarely as our God Most High. And while I love the freedom to know the Lord intimately, there are times when I need to fall flat on the floor before His Highness. By doing so, it re-orients my focus, it highlights my smallness, I am lost in adoration and I can say, “GREAT is the Lord and greatly to be praised!”
It’s not an either/or situation. It is correct to appreciate the closeness and, at the same time, recognize the majesty. Both aspects of our relationship with Him give us a richness and depth that we don’t have by only focusing on one. Listen to this remarkable verse from Isaiah,
For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite.
He lives in the high – exalted, majestic, lofty – place AND with the lowly – in our hearts. What a wonderful God! So, I don’t think the answer is to build grand cathedrals, but to think about His Highness and bow your heart low in worship.
How about going outside at night and looking at the stars. If that doesn’t make you think small, try looking at some of the wonders of nature. If you live in the city, go to a park, look at a tree and think to yourself, “I can’t make one of those!” If all else fails, go online and Google some of Hubble telescope pictures. Then realize that anything majestic about nature and this world is but a speck compared to the greatness of our God. All it takes is a glimpse to realize that we are not the center of the universe and put us back into the proper “orientation” with Him.
So let’s take King David’s advice, “O Magnify [make Him bigger in our life] the Lord with me and let us exalt [acclaim His highness] His name together.