“For who is God, save the Lord? and who is a rock, save our God?” -2 Samuel 22:32
I spent the last week in Costa Rica doing mission work with my Sunday School classmates. It was one of the most fulfilling, breathtakingly beautiful experiences of my life. And while I could tell a multitude of stories, today I want to focus on one: the Romería in Cartago.
Every year, thousands of people make a pilgrimage from every corner of Costa Rica to visit the basilica of Cartago, paying homage to La Negrita, a small, black statue of the Virgin Mary. After walking for miles and miles, the devout Catholics enter the basilica on their knees as an extra act of penance. I knew this was the way it would go; I didn’t expect it to surprise me so much. These people were bound by a superstition of several hundred years, praying to a little rock that depicted, in the roughest ways, a woman who was as much a sinner as I am. As a friend of mine put it so eloquently, I stood there and watched as these men and women “crawled their way to Hell.”
To us, Christians that know better and believe differently, this whole ceremony seems absurd! But is it really? What is my “La Negrita”? What is my little idol? What do I crawl on my knees to obtain? What do I seek out in place of my Risen Savior? On the flip side, do I ever show as much devotion to Jesus as these people display towards Mary? The problem is that we’ve stopped looking at God as GOD. He’s not the creator or master… He’s just someone in the back of our minds. We don’t love Him enough. We don’t talk to Him enough. We don’t lay down our lives for Him enough. Let’s change that. This week, let’s seek to serve Him and worship Him with the same intensity and passion as these non-believers! There’s only one God, one Rock that we should come before on our knees.
Dear Lord, help us to identify the idols in our lives. Give us the strength to give them up completely, and to serve and worship you with a new fervor! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
2 thoughts on “On Our Knees”
I grew up Catholic, though not a believer. Since I became Christian I love Catholic Churches for the awe they inspire. The buildings remind me God as God, reminds me of the devotion I owe to Him. While it broke my heart to see the processions while I was visiting Costa RIca, and while I saw similar devotion expressed in Mexico City at the Basilica which originally turned me away from anything remotely religious, there is something awe inspiring of traditions and ceremonies that seek to connect to God.
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I agree that some of the traditions, ceremonies, and architecture of the Catholic religion are very inspiring. In fact, I think the same can be said about several other religions. Christians just don’t get as fired up about God as we should! Imagine if we could display the same kind of faith and devotion– on the same grand scale– in a personal and intimate way! What a different world it would be if the composition of a daisy reminded us (as it should) of God’s grandeur the way a basilica does! And how much better the world would be if we deigned to crawl on our knees to worship in the privacy of our own homes.