Anglican Morning Devotion, 30 August 2021 Anno Domini
A ministry of the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth. 2My soul shall make her boast in the LORD: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad. 3O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together. 4I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.” (Psalm 34:1-4)
I love all sorts of gadgets, among them are old cameras, fountain pens, telescopes, magnifying glasses and microscopes. The latter objects are to afford me the ability to see things that nature tends to hide either by size of distance.
When playing outside following World War II, I saw many military planes traverse the heavens. I was stunned at their apparent size. How could grownup men manage to get into such tiny quarters as the planes appeared to be? Sometime in the late forties, my father gave me a telescope – a very primitive model compared to those of the modern day. I was then able to see the planes in much larger image and even see the men sitting in the cockpits on occasion. The telescope shortened the visual distance between my eyes and the object being viewed. That is what faith does for the Christian. It brings the God of Heaven closer to us and makes Him known to us.
The purpose of the teaching of the Church is to magnify the Lord so that we can know Him intimately. But there are churches that may have the wrong perspective by viewing God and His son the Lord Jesus Christ, through the wrong end of the telescope – or the wrong focus on man instead of God. When our worship is man-centered, instead of God-centered, man becomes the center of focus and God appears very small in comparison. What a shame, but it is true.
In our introductory Psalm, David urges us to magnify the Lord with him. That is the proper function of the preacher, and it is the role of the Holy Ghost to magnify Christ and not Himself. How do we ‘magnify’ the Lord? The first two verses of our Psalm tell us a manner in which we can magnify the Lord: “I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth. 2My soul shall make her boast in the LORD: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad.” Notice the humility required to magnify the Lord. We are on the close end of the telescope and the Lord is on the far end which brings Him closer and larger to our sight. We do not praise men, but God, in worship – no applause, please, for entertainers. Our every success we attribute to the Lord and not to ourselves. If we put ourselves down in humility, God will raise us up.
In the traditional form of Anglican worship which our Church practices, we recite the Magnificat of Mary the Mother of Jesus from Luke 1:46-55 at Evening Worship:
“And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, 47And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. 48For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. 49For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name. 50And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation. 51He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. 52He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. 53He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away. 54He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy; 55As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever.” (Luke 1:46-55; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
Just as with Mary, the Lord regards our ‘low estate’ (and we are all of low estate) when we magnify him and ‘miniaturize’ ourselves. We have songs in the night that cannot be comprehended by the ungodly. One point we should never omit to confess – God is Holy! A Holy God has no favor for thrills and flamboyant worship styles that magnify man and reduce God to a bystander. It is the strong arm of God that does battle for the humble in heart, and He topples empires and mighty armies by His lightnings from on high. “He hath filled the hungry with good things.” When you hunger in the flesh, your body informs you of the kind of food you most desire. When you hunger in the Spirit, the Spirit informs you of things of unsurpassing beauty in Christ. The primitive diets of the poor have proven largely to be the healthier than the banquet table of kings. Be pleased in the Lord. He sits upon the Throne of the Temple of your Heart. He occupies the upper seat no matter where He resides. We magnify Him by our faith, praise and reverence in worship.