Worshiping the Real Thing

While in France, we visited several historic cathedrals. Most were built over decades, progressively expanded as finances and resources permitted. As a result, some of these cathedrals look a bit mismatched.

For example, this image shows the Basilique du Sacré-Coeur de Paray-le-Monial. The right tower was built long before the left; even the stonework is different!

The history behind this Basilique is especially important in Catholic tradition. In 1673, Marguerite-Marie Alacoque, a Roman-Catholic nun, had a revelation about the Sacred Heart of Jesus. She believed it represented his love for all humanity. Since then, Jesus’ heart has become an object of special devotion.

“A true image of God is not to be found in all the world; and hence… His glory is defiled, His truth corrupted by the lie, whenever He is set before our eyes in visible form.” John Calvin

I read Calvin’s quote yesterday. Our human hearts are hungry to worship something or someone. We were made to worship God. But even if our trajectory is accurate, we easily worship a mere shadow of the real thing. For example, meditating on the “sacred heart” of Jesus rather than the King Himself. Or focusing on making our lives so easy, we worship comfort rather than the Comforter.

After a vivid description of the Lord, scripture asks, “To whom then will you liken God, or what likeness compare with him?” (Isaiah 40:18) The question is unanswerable. “It’s purpose is to remind us that it is as absurd as it is impious to think that an image modeled, as images must be, upon some creature could be an acceptable likeness of the Creator (Packer, 46).

Just another reason I’m glad to have visited France: A bigger perspective on God and how I should worship Him.

To learn more: Knowing God by J.I. Packer; The Sacred Heart of Jesus

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