Tag Archives: Talisman

The Divine Good Luck Charm

Then Micah said, “Now I know that the Lord will prosper me, because the Levite has become my priest.”
Judges 17:13 (NRSV)

Wendy and I are fans of the Minnesota Vikings. I even know the Vikings fight song and will sing it for you upon request. Granted, we have not had much to cheer about for many years. As we wind down the 2015 season, there is at least the prospect of our Vikes going to the playoffs and an outside chance they could win their division. I’m hopeful, but not holding my breath.

A life-long fan of the Vikings, I can remember being a kid and having so much life energy invested in that game on Sunday. A win could send me to the mountain top and a loss could ruin my life for days. Growing up in the 1970’s when the Vikings were a perennial favorite to go to the Super Bowl, there were more mountain tops than ruins – with the exception of the Super Bowl itself. 0-4. Woof.

Back in those blissful, ignorant days of childhood my perception of God was that of a divine good luck charm. Do the right thing and rub God the right way and the Vikings might win on Sunday. If they lost, well then I must have done something to deserve my tragic circumstances. My focus wasn’t on what God wanted of me, but rather what I could coerce out of God.

Looking back, it’s really quite silly. The story of Micah in today’s chapter, however, reminds me that my childhood perceptions of God are actually quite common. It seems to me that Micah was not looking for a relationship with his Creator, but rather a good luck charm that would assure his prosperity.

My spiritual journey has taught me that God is beyond what I can possibly fathom. God knows that our temporal fortunes in this life are of no eternal value compared to the true genuineness of our faith. Reducing God to some kind of divine talisman is demeaning and disrespectful, and I get the sense that this is why God gets so ticked off with idolatry. The narrow road winds to deeper, more meaningful places than wins and losses. It takes us through more painful tragedies and more life-giving victories.

We love our Vikings, and we will be cheering them on in the coming weeks. Who know? Maybe they’ll surprise us [Still not holding my breath]. Even if they lose, we’ll (once again) chalk it up as a spiritual lesson in faith and perseverance.

Skol!

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Turning God into a Good Luck Charm

English: The Ark of the Covenant, by James Jac...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Then they said, “Let’s bring the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord from Shiloh. If we carry it into battle with us, itwill save us from our enemies.” 1 Samuel 4:3b (NLT)

In todays chapter, the people of Israel were desperate for a victory. As a fan of both the Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Cubs, I can totally relate. Rather than seeking out God the way God had prescribed, the Israelites took the Ark of the Covenant (remember Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark?) from the Tent of Meeting (a kind of moveable temple that the Israelites built and used while making the trek out of captivity in Egypt) where God said it should be and stay. They carried the Ark with them into battle as if it was some kind of secret weapon. Of course, that’s not how God purposed the Ark. They took something God had designed for one reason, and tried to use it for their own self-centered intentions.

The results were not positive.

We as humans have an ages old habit of turning God’s metaphors into mascots; We turn images into icons and idols that we wear, bear, rub, and relish. In doing so, we so easy to reduce the omnisicent, omnipotent, omnipresent Creator into a good luck charm. This is the very definition of profanity: to empty something of its meaning.

Today, I’m searching my own heart, life, and thoughts for ways that I subtly turn God into my personal talisman. I don’t need superstition. I need a savior.