Authority authority authority. Roll that word around for awhile, what is your visceral reaction? Am I wrong in thinking that most Americans (primarily US citizens rather than the more inclusive group North American or all Americas–not that I am trying to leave the others Americas out, but US Americans worship the idea of individual independence more than anyone) dislike that word and even more, the concept of a higher authority?
One of my favorite Bible passages about authority is Matthew 8:5-10. “When he (Jesus) had entered Capernaum, a centurion came forward to him, appealing to him, ‘Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, suffering terribly.’ And he said to him, ‘I will come and heal him.’ But the centurion replied, ‘Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I too am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.’ When Jesus heard this, he marveled and said to those who followed him, ‘Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith’.”
The servant was healed from afar with just a word from Jesus. A Roman Centurion was a big deal kind of guy. He commanded a contingent of 100 foot soldiers, and was paid up to 20 times more than ordinary soldiers. He had absolute authority over the training and discipline of his men, but rather than being prideful about it, this centurion readily recognized a higher authority.
Fast forward to the U.S. in 2017. The idea of a “higher authority” is in disrepute among those who set themselves up as their own authority–which is almost everyone who claims the moral high ground without discernible accomplishments or sacrifices. But don’t we all answer to authority? Some know it and even know what authority they answer to. Many people don’t think they answer to an authority (“ain’t nobody gonna tell me nothin”), but they do, they just don’t know to whom….or what.
This concept of the authority you answer to is bound up in the idea that human beings were created to worship–that is, to praise, honor and submit to …..something. To what? Or to whom? It isn’t complicated really. Maybe the word “worship” itself is the problem, because it does imply something that is not you, but to which you give your allegiance, therefore it is larger, higher, more powerful, more omniscient than you. Ugh. No, I don’t necessarily mean God; I mean your god. Those who don’t accept God still worship: their gods are their own opinions, celebrities, sports stars, politicians, tv shows, concepts like vegetarianism, patriotism, diversity, physical fitness, fleeting beauty, 15 minutes of fame, their tweets, oops, I already mentioned opinions (“why are they like armpits? everyone has them and they all stink”). But actually, opinions should be mentioned again, since people can’t separate themselves from their opinions.
All these things are not you, but what you give your thoughts, your time and your loyalty to, i.e. your gods. All things considered, I submit to God, and know Him through the Bible, which I consider His revelation to humanity. I know whom I worship. Do you?