Consider mantras in a business environment. It is said by business gurus that a corporation should have it's own mantra so it's employees can immediately remember who or what their company is attempting to be.
Example? Here's Nike's mantra: "Authentic athletic performance."
I have no idea what makes a particular piece of athletic equipment authentic and another inauthentic, but for some reason the people at Nike recognize it as helpful. Okay . . . good for them . . . and as you can imagine, the business examples can go on and on. Federal Express: "peace of mind." Mary Kay: "enriching women's minds."
Yet today I am not writing about the mantra for business purposes. Rather, I am writing about the mantra to help us recognize that something else is at work in our society. According to Wikipedia (the ultimate non-source source - if you know what I mean) the mantra originates in the Vedic tradition of India, which has a formative role in HInduism. What's going on here? The purpose of the mantra is not only to help us remember our identity, but the purpose of the mantra is to change us . . . to transform us.
Hmm . . . on one level we can applaud our Eastern Religious friends because they recognize the power of words to change people. They are certainly correct in that regard. Nevertheless, the ease by which we accept mantras in our society raises a fundamental question: "What are the words we are repeating in our minds?" Are they purely business slogans? Are they something more profound . . . perhaps more damaging? Do they have something to do with our sense of worth? Do they reflect on the identity of God? These are critical questions for our daily lives.
You see, I am convinced that people in our churches are largely living by their own mantras. They are telling themselves who they are, but they are not telling themselves who they are from God's perspective. This is precisely what I was referring to yesterday in my preaching when I said that people have either a too high opinion of themselves or a too low opinion of themselves. When we think of ourselves too highly we make the mistake of forgetting our origin (we are of the earth). When we think of ourselves too lowly we also forget our origin (we are made from the hand of God). There is much to say about these things, but the point I want to make today is that we need God's point of view.
How do we get God's point of view into our minds and on our lips so that they can transform? We memorize and meditate on the Word of God.
More to come on this subject,