…are a time for reflection. At least if you are, as I am, an early riser. It is a time to put the week into focus. And this Sunday morning, more than most, I see the need for a savior.
Personally, it just seems like annoying incidents are getting more frequent and more annoying. From the person that literally runs to make sure they get into the grocery checkout in front of me without so much as a “by your leave,” to honking horns when I dare to slow down to try and read an address, people seem so self-absorbed that there is simply no room for the other.
Yesterday I went to make a donation at the Goodwill. When I arrived it had not yet opened and was clearly marked that it was unlawful to leave things there except when employees were present. And yet the front was littered with unruly piles of stuff because people did not have the patience nor time to return a bit later – they thought their time was more important than the law.
On the national scene Hillary Clinton, despite obvious criminality and immense risk to national security, remains a viable candidate. She seems so convinced of her own rectitude and seeming right to the office that no fact can dissuade her. I find myself confronted every time I turn to the news of some new evidence of the Obama administration’s assault on history, the Constitution and common sense. So convicted of their righteousness are they that no opposition has merit. His continual dismissal of all opposition to the Iran deal as not being serious about peace is stunning in its self-righteousness.
We need a savior.
But saviors come in many different forms.
The Roman Republic would, in ties of stress, appoint a savior – someone to lead them out of crisis. Unfortunately one came along that did not want to relinquish the power when the crisis abated and Rome was no longer a republic but a imperial state. Rome continued to thrive for a while, but it had lost its soul. The problem with a savior of power is that sometimes they come to like the power a bit too much.
In the comic book miniseries “Watchmen,” the villain is a superhero who is so convinced of his own capabilities that when the world thinks it no longer needs superheroes, he creates a disaster so the world will once again turn to him. Ego is not a desirable trait in a savior. Said Buddhist writer Jeff Wilson:
Selflessness is humility. Humility and freedom go hand in hand. Only a humble person can be free.
Said Thomas Merton:
Pride makes us artificial and humility makes us real.
We need a different kind of savior. Says Proverbs:
When pride comes, then comes dishonor,
But with the humble is wisdom.
Reality, freedom, wisdom – those are what we need in a savior – and they all stem from humility.
And so I think of Christianity’s Savior, of Jesus of Nazareth. He was, according to Christian doctrine, God incarnate, the creator and sustainer of all that is. His power was far beyond anything that history has shown us or that we can imagine. And yet, as Savior, the Apostle Paul describes it this way:
who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.
Power is best used in service. That is the example of the Savior of the world – the kind of savior we need right now. That same passage from Paul says this just a sentence earlier:
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.
How different would the world be if we did that routinely? What kind of leaders would we support and elect if that was our standard?
You know, now that I think about it, we do not need a savior, we already have one. We just need to learn from Him.