John 15:15

Nick Welford reflects on the nature of relationship with God, and our own need to deal with superiority.

Nick Welford
Nick Welford

When I was a Police Community Support Officer, I was 'volunteered' to pick up one of the area big wigs, (official term), and drive them back to the station. I was very nervous, and this was made worse by my team constantly reminding me to act properly and respectfully.

When the big wig approached the car I jumped out and ran around to the passenger side to open the door for him in a respectful fashion. The boss however looked at me like I was crazy and said, "Aren't you driving?" Sheepish I said yes and ran back around the car to drive him to the station. I'd expected our interaction to be one way, but my boss had different ideas, and although he was still my boss he treated me as an equal!

In my experience, the language of Christianity in relation to God has always been in the up/down terminology. We lift ourselves up to God and receive what He sends down to us. This language permeates our sermons, songs and prayers and this is all fine and true - God is God, God is the creator, the ruler, the ultimate authority, and recognising this with awe and respect is appropriate. Yet this neglects one of the other aspects of our relationship with God, the shoulder to shoulder nature, the privilege of Jesus calling us 'friends'.

I find worth and give worth to my friends because I know them; I know how much their decisions and choices cost them. I know the level of their sacrifices. I don't know the Queen. I don't know how much her choices cost her. I can make some assumptions, but I will never fully know unless we become friends.

I don't want my relationship with God to be like my relationship with the Queen or any authority figure that I don't know personally; anyone where my relationship is only determined by their role to me. I want my relationship with God to acknowledge Him as the ultimate authority, but also as the one who put all that to one side to be my friend at the cost of His life.

Jesus, who could have lauded it over everyone, spent a lot of time shoulder to shoulder with people. He also spent time looking up at people. Dropping to His knees before the woman caught in adultery; reclining with the disciples; sitting down to teach and so on. In fact when He was lifted up before us, it was on a cross, in the most shameful of deaths.

If Jesus, who had every reason to rule over us, chose the life of a poor, back water rabbi so He could be alongside people, then what choice do we have? We who have little reason to feel superior to any other human, yet so often in action and in word show superiority.

As you go about your day, why not look for someone who you can say to, "I no longer call you lesser. I call you friend." CR

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.