While we were on a mission trip at Gleanings for the Hungry, the summer staff surprised us with their rendition of a haka. The haka is a type of ancient Māori war dance traditionally used on the battlefield, as well as when groups came together in peace. Haka are a fierce display of a tribe’s pride, strength and unity. Actions include violent foot-stamping, tongue protrusions and rhythmic body slapping to accompany a loud chant. The words of a haka often poetically describe ancestors and events in the tribe’s history. (From www.newzealand.com <— click here to see what it looks like.) It was described to us that people from that culture who had come to know the Lord wanted to preserve part of their culture and redeem the haka as a form of spiritual warfare.
My wife had never heard of the haka, so I showed her on YouTube how the New Zealand All Blacks rugby team performed it before games. These big rugby players were hitting their arms and legs, and hitting them hard. Jenna copied them after it was over, hitting her own arm somewhat hard. Her arm turned red and it hurt. The rugby players have been hit over and over and over harder and harder probably barely felt their hits even though it was much harder than what Jenna did.
Sometimes life is like this.
We experience something over and over enough, we get less sensitive to it. Usually this applies to negative things like language or images that movies show us or worse. But sometimes, it happens in positive and spiritual situations too. Let me demonstrate. Think about your first kiss with your spouse. There was so much build up to it and then it happened and WOW!!! But then after days, weeks, months or years of kissing your spouse, the build up isn’t there, the excitement isn’t at the same level. It still is nice and enjoyable, but where are the butterflies in the stomach? Where are the endless smiles? More than likely, you love your spouse so much more than that day of the first kiss, yet the same responsive feelings aren’t quite there. Or, as another example, we experience a spiritual high at a camp one year and the next. And then again but after a few years, we come to a place where we almost get immune to that high. We attend, but we don’t experience the same “aha” moments. This also happens week to week at church. We get in the habit of attending, but not being there.
What if we were able to go into each day with new eyes to see the work that God is doing and see it as children do? Earlier today, we were running errands and the last stop was Trader Joe’s. Upon entering the parking lot, the little voice of our two year old exclaimed from the back seat, “Trader Joe’s” with such excitement that it made my wife and I excited to be there too. We have been to Trader Joe’s many times before, it wasn’t anything new.
What if we went in to each daily task with a new mind? What if we gave our spouse a kiss as if it were the first time? What if we looked for a word from the Lord each day in our reading or prayer time and responded to it as if it was the first time we had seen His works? Can we possible attend church week in and week out and come out as if we have just been made new? We can…
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a right spirit within me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
And uphold me with a willing spirit.
Allow God to create a clean slate, or right spirit, every day in you so that you respond to Him with a willing spirit and that restored joy. When you allow Him to clean out your heart, then you will be able to see things in a different light. You will see His hand in everything. God is all and in all. You will enjoy those special moments more and more. You will be able to endure the bumps and bruises more as you will see the hope that only He can give you.