The Heart of Worshp Part 2

"For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned." (Romans 12:3 )

Does the name Mamoru Samuragochi mean anything to you? Samuragochi is a man once hailed as Japan’s deaf musical genius and likened even to Beethoven. Sadly Samuragochi faced the wrath of his nation last Friday, appearing in public for a press conference for the first time since he was exposed as a fake. During the interview Samuragochi described how his childhood love for music came to fuel an elaborate deception. He had claimed to be the son of a survivor of the attack on Hiroshima, overcame the loss of his hearing at age 35 by writing compositions that captured Japan’s heart.  His Symphony No. 1 “Hiroshima,” about the 1945 atomic bombing of his home city, won accolades and sold almost 200,000 copies. His work even accompanied the Japanese Olympic figure skater Daisuke Takahashi’s program in Sochi, Russia last month. But it all ended when an obscure part-time lecturer at a Tokyo music college revealed that he had been Mr. Samuragochi’s ghostwriter since the 1990s. Even more shocking, he claimed that Mr. Samuragochi was not really deaf. Samuragochi said, “I thought the truth would come out some day.” He confessed at the news conference, “It all grew beyond my control, and filled me with terror.”[2] Pride led to deceit of an unprecedented level and filled Mr. Samuragochi with a kind of inner terror that teetered dangerously on the edge of insanity.

For the follower of Christ – the true worshiper of God, “It’s just not all about you!” It is worship when believers have a mindset that is not inwardly directed (i.e. full of pride), but rather when they have characters that are developing authentic, “sober, sane, sensible, and realistic estim[ations] of themselves.”[1] Indeed pride can produce the most unbelievable examples of inauthenticity coupled with mental self-absorbed insobriety.

Generally speaking, our culture seems to have extremely low tolerance for fakes like Mr. Samuragochi. There’s nothing wrong with desiring authenticity, especially among our leaders and those in positions of influence, authority, and power. But we must also be careful not to make an idol out of authenticity. Anymore, it seems if someone is judged as "inauthentic" then he or she is shunned, never to have any real friends or credibility again. But true humility does not lash out at others for their lack of humility! Jesus said that his disciples would be recognized by their unity and love for one another and in this way show the world that Jesus indeed was sent from God.[3]

So here’s the challenge: Is your worship of God manifesting itself in a realistic estimation of yourself as well as a growing love for others? Do you find yourself having a less censorious, judgmental spirit toward those who do not have as high standards for excellence as you do, or toward those who struggle in their faith? How’s your patience with those who fall, or those who are self-deceived?[4] It is a form of worship to extend grace toward yourself and toward others.

[1] Thomas Schreiner, Romans, 651.

[2] Hiroko Tabuchi, “Disgraced Musician Faces an Angry Japan,” NYTimes, MARCH 7, 2014, accessed on 3/13/14 at http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/08/world/asia/disgraced-musician-faces-an-angry-japan.html?ref=hirokotabuchi&gwh=5A6CA8D7ED5D909B45A2CC833A08326D&gwt=regi

[3] John 17:21,23 “that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me… 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.”

[4] Tim Keller, Center Church, 75. Based on the sort of questions asked at a Welsh seait or “Experience Meeting” of William Williams.