Saturday, February 19, 2011

Gargoyles & Idols ~

Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs. Jonah 2:8
Notre Dame Cathedral
Today we're in Chapter 25 of Meeting God in Quiet Places: the Cotswold Parables by F. LaGard Smith. LaGard is looking at the gargoyles on St. Michael's church in his village and wondering why they're on a Christian church. But whether the gargoyles are on the facade of St. Michael's, Notre Dame or Westminster, they are a grotesque and menacing sight. Why are they there? What do they mean? 

Well, basically the gargoyles on the churches in London and Paris---as well as other places around the world--were put there to resist the evil in the world; each  one a talisman against the devil and his evil works of darkness. Unfortunately, they don't work. What in the world were the architects and churchmen thinking? No one and nothing protects us from evil except God! Why are Christians worshiping in houses with gargoyles on them? Is someone hedging their bets in regard to their security against evil forces?

Remember the old television show that asked: Who do you trust? Have you thought whether you're trusting in God or something else? Maybe you're hedging your bets by adding a cross or some other  idol to your life. The psalmist David had something to say about idols:  
They have mouths but cannot speak,  
eyes, but they cannot see;                                        
they have ears, but cannot hear,
nor is there breath in their mouths,
those who make them will be like them,
and so will all who trust in them.

We have "In God we trust" on our money, but do we really trust in God? Or have we made an idol of something else? For the Israelites making their exodus from Egypt, it was a golden calf. For fear of vampires, there's a cross. For the pagan Goths, it was gargoyles--and evidently Christians as well. But there are other things we depend on to bring us security--something to fall back on in hard times: job security, credit cards, an insurance policy or pension fund. Or maybe it isn't just something material. It could be dependency on friends--the right friends and associates, of course. A college degree is dependable, isn't it? Support from our spouse is always there to depend on. No matter what you place your faith in, you must decide whether it's genuine security or counterfeit. 

Look at Israel's misplaced trust: they put their trust in horses, chariots, and political alliances and had a rude awakening. All their military strength failed them because "they did not look to the Holy One of Israel, or seek help from the Lord." They had their priorities mixed up and they lost. Do you trust in God or in burglar alarms, security patrols and handguns? Handguns are a big item in today's world. I even know a preacher who makes guns one of his identifying marks. What does that say about his faith? 

LaGard says: "The problem with putting our trust in anything other than God is that it shrinks our view of God's infinite power. The specific details may vary, whether it's insurance policies, or handguns, or even relationships. But the real problem is that we worship a god too small." And he continues in the next paragraph, "Whatever is not of God is a gargoyle. Whatever is not of faith is only thinly masked paganism. It might as well be a wooden idol!" Hmmm...something to think about today. I'll add a little more tomorrow.

Have a wonderful day with the family!

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