Splendor

The Infant’s Lament
Born in blood and pain, stretching and breathing air for the first time, each newborn sent up a cry. The delivery room responded to the infantile desperation with smiles all around. The father squeezed the hand of his wife and they shared a smile born in vows, songs, and flowers on their wedding day. Two became One and now they are Three. Nothing will remain unchanged by the baby’s shrill cry.

What is behind this primal utterance? What needs propel the infant’s lament? When pain or discomfort visit his/her little life, all a child can do is cry. It is up to the adults in the room to interpret the message. God supplies the mother with an internal system that somehow breaks the code. Fathers stand by, amazed and grateful.

In the wisdom of creation, God connected need with voice.
We cry, laugh, ponder aloud, sing, and mumble to ourselves. Why? because something deserves note and comment. At the worst this is whining; at best this is prayer.

What is the deep need that is so unrelenting? What do we want?

Whatever it is, it is the source of the blues, of jazz, or gospel—both Southern and Urban—of classical music, of story, of theatre, of film, of poetry, prose, and prayer.

In many ways the heart of man is like that newborn, breathing, hurting, crying out. Why?

I believe the Psalms give us the answer—we need the splendor of God.

“…worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness…”

Without the splendor of God we are left with the wasteland of a fallen creation.

  • Life is random without the Order of Creation.
  • Life is disturbing without the Peace of God.
  • Life is confusing without His Word.

We sense His splendor in

  • the rhythm of day and night,
  • the revolving wheel of the seasons,
  • the storm and its subsequent quiet, and in the
  • the rain and the rainbow.

God is in the details.
To read His Word is to examine the small print of the Covenant of Life He has made with us—God is in the details. To pray is to have an audience with the King of kings. To worship with the saints, is to imbibe our fill of the nectar of His grace, the splendor of His mercy.

In splendor He frames our days and guards our nights. In majesty, He surrounds us with angels in bivouac, swords drawn and eyes scanning every horizon.

In the continuing Jesus Story, we find blank pages whereupon we are to write our chapter. Like Jesus, born in blood and pain, we are destined for splendor.

Scriptures:
Psalm 29:1-2 NIV
Ascribe to the Lord, O mighty ones, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness.
Psalm 96 NIV
Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth. Sing to the Lord, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples. For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the nations are idols, but the Lord made the heavens. Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and glory are in his sanctuary.
Revelation 4:2-11 NKJV
Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne. And He who sat there was like a jasper and a sardius stone in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, in appearance like an emerald.  Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and on the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white robes; and they had crowns of gold on their heads.  And from the throne proceeded lightnings, thunderings, and voices. Seven lamps of fire were burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. Before the throne there was a sea of glass, like crystal. And in the midst of the throne, and around the throne, were four living creatures full of eyes in front and in back.  The first living creature was like a lion, the second living creature like a calf, the third living creature had a face like a man, and the fourth living creature was like a flying eagle. The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying: “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!” Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever, 10 the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying: “You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created.”

Prayer:
The Highest Name
Eph. 1:17-23 (Adapted SRP, from The Book of Daily Worship)
Father, I ask that You may give me the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that I may know Jesus better. I pray also that the eyes of my heart may be enlightened in order that You may know the hope to which You have called me, the riches of my glorious inheritance in the saints, and Your incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of Your mighty strength, which You exerted in Christ when You raised Him from the dead and seated Him at Your right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. Father, You placed all things under His feet and appointed Him to be head over everything for the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills everything in every way. Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.

Song:
Victor’s Crown
Words and Music: Robert Gay

Refrain:
O the glory of Your Name, The splendor of Your Name
None can compare with the power of that Name
You are Jesus. You are Lord. You are God

Verse:
You have won the victor’s crown.
You have triumphed over sin and death.
Your Name is lifted high and rings Through all the earth.
Every demon spirit in hell trembles when Your name is heard.
And we Your church proclaim Your victory in the world.

Refrain:
O the glory of Your Name, The splendor of Your Name
None can compare with the power of that Name
You are Jesus. You are Lord. You are God

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

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