Don’t be ashamed to wear your crown

coronation

“I hate when I look in my closet and find clothes instead of Narnia.”  H.B. Bolton

The song GOLD by Britt Nicole carries a great message for her audience. In summary: for all the girls and boys all over the world, it doesn’t matter what you’ve been told, you are worth more than gold. In fact, you’re a king, a queen, inside and out. Don’t be afraid to hold your head up high and wear your crown. (Full lyrics and a great film clip are below)

I can’t help thinking that this is the very same message C.S.Lewis brings to children (of all ages) in his adventures to Narnia. In Aslan’s realm, the children are crowned as rulers over the kingdom, with special gifts and talents given them. They are afforded great power and respect from all creatures.

“To the glistening eastern sea, I give you Queen Lucy the Valiant. To the great western woods, King Edmund the Just. To the radiant southern sun, Queen Susan the Gentle. And to the clear northern skies, I give you King Peter the Magnificent. Once a king or queen of Narnia, always a king or queen of Narnia. May your wisdom grace us until the stars rain down from the heavens.” C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

Yet back through the wardrobe, back in ‘reality’ they are simply children, children who should be seen and not heard. In this reality we adult humans can see ourselves in this way, as very ordinary people, accidents of biology, mere vapours. We can be despondent about our very existence, and become dependent on the affirmations of others. We can think we must impress others to ‘justify our own existence’. (Have you seen that awful bumper sticker?) We need to remember the reality of the spiritual realm, of God, and the intent God had for us, for the creatures he made in his own image. We were designed to be his image-bearers, designed to give glory to him as we display his character for all to see. (If you are not yet convinced of the existence of a Creator and the spiritual realm, check out this book – “Rumours of another world” – Max Lucado)

The Lord has crowned us as rulers over creation:
“What is mankind that you are mindful of them, a son of man that you care for him?
You made them a little lower than the angels; you crowned them with glory and honor and put everything under their feet.”
(Hebrews 2:6-8)

He has Crowned us as co-heirs with Christ, if we are in Christ. We are stunningly individual and unique people who all play a vital role within His Body here on planet earth (see 1 Corinthians 12).

We are to shine like stars as witnesses to those in the heavenly realms:
“Do everything without grumbling or arguing,so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain.” (Philippians 2:14-16)

As Britt Nicole would say, we shouldn’t be ashamed to wear our crown. Don’t wait for the world to affirm your existence. God made you, for a reason.

GOLD crown

Oh, oh, oh, oh Oh, oh, oh, oh

You were walking on the moon, now you’re feeling low
What they said wasn’t true, you’re beautiful
Sticks and stones break your bones, I know what you’re feeling
Words like those won’t steal your glow, you’re one in a million years

This is for all the girls, boys all over the world
Whatever you’ve been told, you’re worth more than gold
So hold your head up high, it’s your time to shine
From the inside out it shows, you’re worth more than gold (Gold gold, you’re gold)
You’re worth more than gold (Gold gold you’re gold)

Well everybody keeps score, afraid you’re gonna lose
Just ignore they don’t know the real you
All the rain in the sky can’t put out your fire all the stars out tonight, you shine brighter

So don’t let anybody tell you that you’re not loved
And don’t let anybody tell you that you’re not enough
Yeah there are days when we all feel like we’re messed up
But the truth is that we’re all diamonds in the rough
So don’t be ashamed to wear your crown
You’re a king you’re a queen inside and out
You glow like the moon, you shine like the stars
This is for you, wherever you are

So don’t be ashamed to wear your crown You’re a king you’re a queen inside and out

You may also like Britt Nicole’s STAND

And these other posts:

Jesus wants me for a sunbeam – or maybe a firework                     It’s always a good time
shineImage created by Sarah Danaher with a Canon EOS 5D MkII

Oh, for a humble attitude to church – especially the music!

Worship_War_ThumbChurch music is a stand-out feature that quickly distinguishes one church from another. While it may be difficult to assess doctrinal differences or the measure of humility amongst the congregation, it is easy to measure them by their music. We label it as good, bad, mediocre, boring, outdated or shallow. Everyone is a critic when it comes to music because we have such diversity of tastes and experiences.
Yet we are to be one in Christ! To be one we need to prefer the needs of others, to consider others, to put others before ourselves (Philippians 2:3-4) and not insist on our own way (1Cor 13:4-5).

In The Screwtape Letters C.S. Lewis describes how damaging a critical spirit can be. In the book the uncle ‘devil’ guides his nephew to distract the new Christian from growing in his faith, by making him a critic of the church:
“The search for a “suitable” church makes the man a critic where God wants him to be a pupil. What he wants from the layman in church is an attitude which may, indeed, be critical in the sense of rejecting what is false or unhelpful but which is wholly uncritical in the sense that it does not appraise- does not waste time in thinking about what it rejects, but lays itself open in uncommenting, humble receptivity to any nourishment that is going.”
C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

When I first read those words many years ago I swallowed hard and thought how many times I had proudly commented about matters and manners in the church. I thought I knew best and spent plenty of time thinking about what I rejected. In terms of music I continue to make judgements all the time about our own music and music team. (Now to be fair I suppose a music leader does have to review and assess and work to improve. That is their purpose.)  But I then wondered how much nourishment I had missed because I was distracted by my own criticism. How much do other people miss as they judge the absence of their favourite songs or the volume of the drums or focus on that song they really don’t like? (If you want more examples of the critical spirit, check out this great post from ‘lessons by heart’)

Now this is not to say that we should mindlessly accept all things (or song lyrics) that contradict the truth of the Gospel. Of course not. If the Gospel is being compromised then that is certainly the time to spend time being a critic and sharing your concerns with someone who can correct the problem.

But imagine if we were all humble enough, in Christ-like humility, that we didn’t spend time thinking about what we reject? What if we put personal preferences aside for the sake of unity and focused on receiving (and passing on) what nourishment could be gained from any Christian gathering. Uncommenting humble receptivity! What a great description of a godly attitude to develop in our churches. . . and most importantly in ourselves.

There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him:
haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood,
a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil,
a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.
(Proverbs 6:16-19)

You may also like:

New songs say ‘God is doing something now’                           On musical taste and grace
music_is_nature__silhouette_by_sammy3773-1music taste

Seeking truth or comfort?

birds“If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth …”
C.S. Lewis

I discovered this quotation today and thought it would have gone well with my previous post on taking control of your life – but really it stands alone. Blessings!

C.S. Lewis on musical taste and grace

music tasteA few days ago I wrote about the way we can show grace to others by not demanding that they pander to our prideful ‘good taste’ (in a variety of areas).
Here C.S. Lewis talks about a related topic, musical taste. Disagreements over the ‘right’ or most godly church music have produced many hard-fought and rarely-won battles. While Lewis’ comments below are a bit of a challenge in terms of the language, it is worth the slog if you can get to his main point. Grace is the key! We must bear with one another in love, bear with things we dislike for the sake of others whom we are called to love, in Christ. If we are in music ministry and find ourselves filled with pride at our skill, or contempt and hostility to the congregation we serve, it’s probably time for a break! It’s probably time to re-examine our motives – and pray for God to work in us for His glory. Blessings!

Musical Taste

“There are two musical situations on which I think we can be confident that a blessing rests. One is where a priest or an organist, himself a man of trained and delicate taste, humbly and charitably sacrifices his own (aesthetically right) desires and gives the people humbler and coarser fare than he would wish, in a belief (even, as it may be, the erroneous belief) that he can thus bring them to God. The other is where the stupid and unmusical layman humbly and patiently, and above all silently, listens to music which he cannot, or cannot fully, appreciate, in the belief that it somehow glorifies God, and that if it does not edify him this must be his own defect. Neither such a High Brow nor such a Low Brow can be far out of the way. To both, Church Music will have been a means of grace; not the music they have liked, but the music they have disliked. They have both offered, sacrificed, their taste in the fullest sense. But where the opposite situation arises, where the musician is filled with the pride of skill or the virus of emulation and looks with contempt on the unappreciative congregation, or where the unmusical, complacently entrenched in their own ignorance and conservatism, look with the restless and resentful hostility of an inferiority complex on all who would try to improve their taste – there, we may be sure, all that both offer is unblessed and the spirit that moves them is not the Holy Ghost.”

This was taken from an essay entitled “On Church Music” by C. S. Lewis. It can be found in a current publication called Christian Reflections published by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.; ISBN: 0802808697.

Ps. Today I celebrate my 150th Blog Post! Thanks for reading.
Read more about C.S.Lewis on this post: Our Glorious Capital C Church

Our glorious capital ‘C’ Church

Today I have the pleasure of talking about two of my favourite things: author C.S. Lewis and the band Casting Crowns. Both of them have much to say about the church, not just the local church, but the capital C “Church”. By this I mean the fellowship of believers that is spread around the globe, through all time and space. The Church is the Bride of Christ. We are all part of this if we are in Christ. The “crowd of witnesses” in Hebrews 12 help make up this great gathering of God’s people. They can already see the reality of the things we hope for in Him. And they cheer us on to persevere with the small ‘c’ church, no matter how frustrating it can be at times. God’s Church marches on as he unfolds his plans. What a great grace and privilege that God draws us into something (Someone!) much greater than ourselves, much greater than the here and now.

But when it comes to Church we often can’t see the wood for the trees. And Satan would happily keep us distracted in this way!screwtape  In The Screwtape Letters, Lewis describes the strength of the Church. These are fictional letters between a senior and junior devil. (For those not familiar with this classic book the main topics of their correspondance is how to discourage Christians, distract them and weaken their faith. Totally worth a read if you haven’t!)

“. . . the Church as we see her spread out through all time and space and rooted in eternity, (is) terrible as an army with banners. . . that, I confess, is a spectacle which makes our boldest tempters uneasy. But fortunately it is quite invisible to these humans”. (Letter 2)

“We want the Church to be small not only that fewer men may know the Enemy but also that those who do may acquire the uneasy intensity and the defensive self-righteousness of a secret society or clique. The Church Herself is, of course, heavily defended and we have never quite succeeded in giving her all the characteristics of a faction . . .” (Letter 7. By the way, by ‘Enemy’ these devils mean God)

Oh, that we could see the glory of Christ’s Bride! (That’s us!) Casting Crowns’ songwriter Mark Hall takes up this topic, looking forward to the final union of the Church, the Bride of Christ, with the Bridegroom, Jesus. Listen and read the lyrics below. I particularly like the description (verse 2) of the highs and lows of the Church through history. Despite these we were made to wear Christ’s robes of righteousness, on that wedding day! The love of Christ has come and set us free, indeed!

Wedding Day – Casting Crowns

There’s a stirring in the throne room
And all creation holds it’s breath
Waiting now to see the bride groom
Wondering how the bride will dress
And she wears white

And she knows that she’s undeserving
She bears the shame of history
But this worn and weary maiden
Is not the bride that he sees
And she wears white, head to toe
But only he could make it so

[Chorus:]
When someone dries your tears
When someone wins your heart
And says your beautiful
When you don’t know you are
And all you’ve longed to see
Is written on his face
When love has come and finally set you free
On that wedding day, On that wedding day

[Verse 2:]
She has danced in golden castles
And she has crawled through beggar’s dust
But today she stands before him
And she wears his righteousness
And she will be who he adores
This is what he made her for

[Bridge:]
When the hand that bears the only scars
And heaven touch her face
And the last tears she’ll ever cry
Are finally wiped away
And the clouds roll back as he takes her hand
And walks her through the gates
Forever we will reign