When does the quest for magnificence become the struggle for survival?
Have you ever watched Olympic swimming? There is something noteworthy and “extra” exciting about the races in which one or more of the racers are expected to come near or shatter a world record. There is a buzz in the crowd and potentially slower participants are excited about even being involved in a potentially historic event. We slide to more attentive postures when we see the swimmers take their marks. We focus our eyes intently when we hear the starter fire his gun. Soon after the swimmers hit the water, we see this line appear out in front of or among the swimmers. This sliding line is the record for the event. Things get really interesting when that line is the world record. You see, the world record line is basically the “no one has ever swum faster than this fast” mark.
Interest is peaked and excitement is palpable because those watching are possibly witnessing the pinnacle of magnificence when it comes to swimming. The idea that: “We are watching history in the making!” is so much fun to be involved in, even from our living rooms. For me, interest wanes when that world record line drifts off ahead of the swimmers and eventually disappears. Because then, the race is no longer chasing the magnificent, historical mark that has never before been achieved. It simply becomes a matter of swimming faster than the next fastest competitor. The race has now become relative to the field and is no longer that chase for magnificence.
Relative morality in society today is much like these less exciting races. Relative morality says that I’m ok or I’m even good as long as I’m better than you, or her, or him. The problem with relative morality is this: only being better than the next person allows us to gauge our moral success or failure on those whom we can manipulate into being lesser people so that we can feel better about who we are. With relative morality, the scale is never trustworthy, and even worse it pits us against one another. When all that I need to do is to wait for you to stumble in order to feel better about myself, I wind up actually rooting against you. Worse than that, I might even throw things into your path to make you stumble.
You see, far too often, we forget about the world record holder for love and morality, Jesus Christ. We let His pace drift so far ahead of us that we find ourselves simply struggling to beat one another, and it’s much easier to slow one another down than to put forth the energy and focus to chase down the Holiness of Christ. And as a result we’re weary and worn. We’re defensive and dejected. When we lose sight of Christ’s magnificence, we become mere survivors struggling along, looking over our shoulders, just hoping to not be overcome by the next competitor. The fact of the matter is this: Christ set the mark for us so that we might see the magnificence of His Father’s kingdom. He set the world record for love and He beckons us to come to him and find rest from the world and the miserable relative morality that’s been sold to us. When did we forget about chasing the world record holder and become satisfied with simply beating one another? In Christ, there is a magnificent healing and hope beyond the struggles of today. Seek Him. Chase Him. He’s cheering for us. He’s calling out to us.
And again he says, “Here am I, and the children God has given me.” Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.