Is he worthy?
When we think about our heroes of the faith, both young and old, I’m afraid we too often think their belief existed independent of a constant reorientation to the Lord. That they were supercharged with a holy ambition the rest of us simply do not have. That they always believed, always obeyed, always wanted to spend time with the Lord and with their communities.
That’s just not true. The reason we look up to these saints who have gone before us is not because their faith was more ambitious but rather because day by day they sought to answer the question, Is he worthy? They woke up and laid down and so much of their time in between was working out a personal response to whether he is indeed worthy.
In Week 2 of our Gospel Community field guides, it notes that even those who spent lots and lots of time in the presence of Jesus struggled to believe. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 3:4, "For when one says, 'I follow Paul,' and another, 'I follow Apollos,' are you not being merely human?" This doesn't give us a license to sin or create idols, but it does mean we are not much different than the millions who have gone before us.
I know for me personally, it is a daily or weekly grapple. Is he worthy of getting up early to worship, read and write? Is he worthy of my Tuesday mornings? Is he worthy of my Friday nights? Is he worthy of my time on Sundays caring for our 2- and 3-year-olds? Is he worthy of my money and my time and my neighborhood and the way I eat and my words and my complete and total self?
These are not shameful questions. They are legitimate ones. They are not questions we are unfamiliar with. Being an adult, it seems sometimes, is a series of decisions about what to give our resources to.
Is this novel worthy?
Is this documentary worthy?
Is this restaurant worthy?
As I walked home from church last Sunday I thought about these questions and the binary answers we must produce with our lives when it comes to the Lord. Either God is worthy or he isn’t. And I listened to this staggeringly good and simple song.
Is anyone worthy?
Is anyone whole?
Is anyone able to break the seal and open the scroll?
The Lion of Judah who conquered the grave
He is David's root and the lamb who died to ransom the slave
The answer to the question of whether God is worthy resounds throughout this ancient faith and links together a long line of those who have endured. It compels us to what the world would call a puzzling generosity and love for one another. It draws us out of loss and grounds us in victory so that in all things we may reflect the father. It radicalizes our lives and puts to death our former selves with a mighty silence. People have lived for the answer. They've died for it, too. It's simple but it's not easy. It is dangerous and transformative.
That answer is two words long but demands the rest of our lives.
Is he worthy? Is he really worthy?
He is, history and creation and the saints thunder.