A good friend sent me a quote the other day. He is reading "Open Ice" by Jack Falla. I'll not commit the injustice of trying to repeat the quote; read the book and you'll know it when you see it. It's about Falla observing the Sistine Chapel ceiling artwork. Witnessing the painting of the creation of water made him think of ice, from which we get hockey. It really was a pretty amusing quote, and it got me to thinking...
Here's the difference, the fine line between worship and idolatry: If I think of creation and am automatically drawn to hockey because I love hockey, that is (or it risks being) idolatry. If I see hockey and it makes me think of God, that's worship.
Don't get me wrong, you can enjoy the many things in life without them being an idol. Really, this is a thought process that needs to be fleshed out a bit (to onlooking theologians, no pun intended). Many a young Christian has asked themself, however, just how much can I enjoy something before it becomes an idol? This is really the question I think I'm facing here. I think the illustration is sound, too.
God's glory can be found in just about everything.
I cut at the ice with the freshly sharpened blades of my skates, the smell of that cold winter air permeating my senses. I see the flakes of snow falling against the glow of the rink lights during an evening skate down at the park. I hear a slapshot crack and the near immediate thump of a steadfast sideboard holding back the snow and keeping in that little black disc. All this in mind, and I realize: the wood of the stick and of the boards, the frozen water beneath my skates and the crystalized water falling from the sky, the rubber puck perfectly round and within fractions of an ounce of an exacting weight, the current of electricity for the lights and the heat of the warming house - all these varying systems and substances come into a created harmony mimicing, in a small way, the created harmony from the almighty God. He gifted us this that we may have joy and say how great is our God!
Yet when I had such joys I rejoiced in the people that made it, not the God that made it possible. I put my back to Him as I laced up my skates. I said "Assuming He exists, I'll leave Him alone if He leaves me alone". Instead of bringing just punishment to a thankless, disobedient and recalcitrant boy, He showed me His glory. He said "Look at all I have created for you. See all that you have been given, that you may know the power and the majesty of your creator. This water that sustains your human flesh, that you skate on, breath in, swim through, watch falling from the sky and crashing upon your shores - see it and know I made it and I made it do that, and it is a tiny shred of my abilities."
I fall to my knees, to think how I tried putting God in a little jar on my shelf. I would beg forgiveness except to realize a great sin like mine shall not go unpunished. "The wages of Sin is death" our God declares. Death it shall be. I have purchased my death. The purchase price, I have met; the reward, however, I shall never see - for my God is "both the Just and the Justifier". I have been justified in the eyes of my Lord. I'll see Him and, though my sins be like scarlet, I shall be white as snow. It is the Lord Jesus who died. The punishment of death purchased by me was served in whole by Him who was sent of God and bore the full deity Himself. Yes, I shall one day bow joyfully in the presence of the Lord because my punishment was placed on Him who knew no sin, the lamb, Jesus Christ.
The next time I feel the wind in my face as I listen to the rhythmic shhruk-shhhruk-shhhruk of steel on ice, I'll see the white of the snow and think of God - the Creator, Sustainer and Redeemer... and I will rejoice.