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12 November 2007

The Total Perspective Vortex

Posthumous apologies to Douglas Adams for taking his concept and altering it slightly...

I was a rocker in the 80's. I vaguely remember my brother telling me back then that there was a band which claimed it performed the song "Rock of Ages" (not the Christian hymn) better than Def Leppard, the band that wrote and originally recorded the song. We both thought the claim was goofy, because the original version was the definitive version; the plumb-line against which all other versions must necessarily be measured.

I was reminded of this because on Saturday during the worship time at the Worship Leaders' Fellowship, we sang "Above All" and were led by Lenny LeBlanc, the writer of the song. I've jokingly commented to a couple of people, "He did it all wrong!" In fact, he didn't do it all wrong, but, for whatever reason, I thought it'd be funny to say so.

I've been trying to figure out how to spin that into something deeply spiritual, but haven't met with success (at least, nothing terribly on-topic for this blog right now), so I'll move on into what I was originally going to say.

I was moved (again) by the words of "Above All" as they described Jesus. As we sang the short phrase, "You lived to die..." I wondered how Jesus felt the day before being taken to be flogged, tortured, and killed. And then I compared that amount of stress to the amount of stress I was feeling on that particular day...

Saturday is my "mental preparation" day for Sunday services. On any given Saturday I will play and replay in my mind, ad nauseum, anything that could possibly go awry during services and other activities in which I'll be involved the next day. Of course, here and there I am able to go over things that will go correctly, but to a far lesser extent. I'm sure this state of mind is absolutely delightful for my family. (I should note that lately I've gotten much better at being faithful to lay these stresses at God's feet and asking Him to take them away.)

So, back to the worship time... I was sucked into something like the Total Perspective Vortex that morning: my situation compared to that of Jesus. He was mentally preparing to have nails brutally driven through His wrists in service to God and humankind, and I was mentally preparing to play the guitar (using only three or four chords -- maybe that needs to be addressed in a blog) and sing praises with a crowd of people in service to God and humankind.

And then I thought that maybe, just maybe, I didn't have too much reason to stress out over my situation.

This may not be an apples-to-apples situational comparison, but it's the only time I can find in the Scriptures where Jesus was actually distressed about something that involved Him. I also noted (again) how Jesus handled the stress: He found a place to pray about it.


Tony M said...

Yep, I know what you mean. I all too often find myself stressing at a high level over things that shouldn't even matter. After all, consider Jesus' words in Matthew 6:25-34. Oswald Chambers, in his "My Utmost for His Highest" collection (that may be the wrong word, but I'm using it anyway), essentially equates "worrying" with "sin" (see devotional here), at least for the believer, anyway (i.e., "worrying" indicates a lack of faith that God will keep His word when He says He'll take care of you). Admittedly, "worry" is not necessarily what you mean here, but it's fairly closely related, I think (and, technically, he uses the term "fret" as the basis of this devotional). I sure wish I was at the point where my faith overcame my worry in every situation. Ever working on it, but it's a slow, long journey.

christy said...

Well, Jesus also "wept" that's stressful to me at least. Jesus withdrew Himself several times - so I would think that would be due to stress - all the crowds and stuff? Maybe I'm reading too much into the withdrawing thing.

Anyway, a little side note (that's twice I've said that today, weird) "Above All" is my favorite song to sign. Just a little FYI.

Dean Lusk said...

I definitely think that's worth noting. I believe Jesus saw the warning signs of stress and wisely took some time alone in several instances in the Scripture.

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