INTRODUCING THE ONE, THE ONLY…
I am a fan of the move A Knight’s Tale (Colombia Pictures, 2001) staring Heath Ledger as a commoner named William who poses as a knight by the name of Ulrich von Lichtenstein. It has action, romance (boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back), some kickin’ music and the underdog wins in the end. What’s not to love?
Some of the funniest scenes are the introductions of the knights before a jousting match. Now, as part of my Toastmasters training, I understand that there is a fine art to introductions. You have to learn something about the person you are introducing and help the audience to understand why the audience should be interested in what the speaker has to say. But the introductions in A Knight’s Tale seemed to be intended to do three things: stir up the support of the crowd, strike some fear into the opponent and praise the knight’s accomplishments.
Recently, I caught a snippet of the movie while I was flipping through the channels. It was the most braggadocio introduction of the bunch. As the character of Henry Chaucer rounded out clearly false claims of the knight’s piety, honor and military success, he concluded with “I give you the one, the only, Sir Ulrich von Lichtenstein!” And the crowd went wild.
Praise for humans is best when direct and honest. I’m not one to say you need to be miserly with praise of your children or mate (as some believe). I believe it is okay to be lavish in praise, but I know that praise not based in reality can ultimately be worthless.
The thing about God is that there are no praise-filled superlatives that aren’t based in reality – Eternal, All-knowing, Savior, King, the fount of all Wisdom, the Creator of all, Possessor of the Universe, Master of all creatures great and small, All-Powerful, Law-giver, the source of all good gifts and so much more.
I know some people who over-use the word “awesome” – to the point where “you did an awesome job on dinner” loses its value because a movie, a book, tying your shoe, losing some weight and a beautiful sunset will each get tagged with “awesome.” The word awesome is an adjective that means extremely impressive or daunting; inspiring great admiration, apprehension, or fear.
Our God is an awesome God. If we know Him at all, He should command our respect. His accomplishments, His sacrifices for us, His power, His plan of salvation, His love for us, His crafting of the universe – from giant suns to tiny particles -- and the mighty miracles we read in the Word or see in our lives should lead us to great admiration.
We are told to praise Him. Psalm 99:9 [NIV] Exalt the LORD our God and worship at his holy mountain, for the LORD our God is holy. Psalm 135:1 [NIV] Praise the LORD. Praise the name of the LORD; praise him, you servants of the LORD. The entirely of Psalm 148 is a call for man and nature to praise God and it finishes with these verses Psalm 148:13-14 [NIV] Let them praise the name of the LORD, for His name alone is exalted; His splendor is above the earth and the heavens. And He has raised up for His people a horn, the praise of all His faithful servants, of Israel, the people close to His heart. Praise the LORD. (Emphasis mine)
Perhaps, like me, you have been taught that the Lord’s Prayer of Luke 11:1-4 is an outline for how we should pray. In verse 2 Jesus tells us to begin with “our Father, which art in Heaven, hollowed be Thy name” [KJV]. Begin with praise. However, just like I don’t allow the very cryptic “give us this day our daily bread” (verse 3) restrain me from asking for every blessing from stress relief to healing to wisdom to forgiveness an so much more, I should not let it the simple “hollowed be Thy name” cause me to gloss over this instruction to praise Him.
So, I have to ask myself this, “Am I miserly with my praise of the real One and Only?” God is no commoner seeking greatness. He is great. And yet He chooses to be near us commoners. Deuteronomy 4:7 [ESV] For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as the LORD our God is to us, whenever we call upon him? So, maybe I could take my cues from Chaucer introduction of Sir Ulrich and, while I am at it, I might as well say it out loud. If you want to join me, you can read the following out load – at the top of your lungs as if to a massive crowd of listeners, hanging on your every word:
Our God is Awesome. He is great and greatly to be praised for He made the earth, which is our home, the sun, which gives us warmth, the moon, which lights our way at night, and the stars that gladden the night sky, have guide travelers since time began and are uncountable. He made every atom and molecule that comprise the intricate and tightly engineered composition of life. He formed the beasts of the earth and gave each the coverings they needed – from the tough and wrinkled skin of elephants to the delicate, graceful wings of the butterflies. His love is limitless. His plan of salvation is perfect. His wisdom is sure. He inspires hope in the hopeless and breaks every chain that would enslave us. His power and might know no bounds. He inhabits eternity and He inhabits the most humble servant who is willing to trust in Him. I give you, The One, The Only, The Almighty, The Eternal, Loving God, in whom there is no equal!!!!
And the crowd went wild!
In the words of the Psalmist in Psalms 48:1 [NIV] Great is the LORD, and most worthy of praise, in the city of our God, his holy mountain. And I will praise Him with abandon. Will you join me?
I welcome your thoughts, comments and questions. You can write me at Nancy@DynamicChristianMinistries.org.
P.S. If you are interested, here is a link that introductions from The Knight’s Tales:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jdWO9ozir1YJust FYI, they don’t meet the Toastmaster’s criteria.