Moving with the Honor Rhythm
The rhythm of Honor Season is the rhythm of Jesus' feet as he staggered under the cross beam on his way to execution. Nothing in this world is more sobering than realizing we are supposed to move in SYNC with that rhythm.
We dance to the other six rhythms in the annual SYNC cycle, but the Honor Rhythm is the one that keeps us going when we are too weak and worn out to dance. It is hard to dance with the beam of a cross on your shoulders. Who dances their way to their place of execution?
So if we can't dance to the Honor Rhythm, how do we move with it? We shuffle or stagger, but we keep our heads held high. We do not go into shock when people attack us. Jesus told us that attacks would come. We do not curse our attackers any more than Jesus cursed his. We do not even claim we know why this is happening and how it all makes sense if we take the long view. We just keep going, sticking with the risk and pain of the assignment God has given us to make Jesus known.
Our goals as we move with the Honor Rhythm
1) Finishing honorably, never taking the easy road or cutting corners on our assignment
2) Breaking the power of sin by accepting undeserved shame and violence
How do we move with the Honor Rhythm?
We say "Yes!" Our first step as we start moving with the Honor Rhythm is to look at Jesus carrying his cross and say, "Yes, that is my King! Yes, that man, beaten to a pulp by the establishment, that man, about to be nailed to a stake and hung up to die, that man is my King! Yes, that man really is the One God chose and sent to save the world, and he is doing it right now! Yes, put me at the service of that King." "SYNC me!" is one way of saying "Yes."
We keep looking at the story of Jesus carrying his cross. This story shows us that God's Messiah would change the world not by crushing evil but by allowing evil to crush him! In God's strategy, evil is like a stiff rod that is being used to beat people into submission. The Messiah is not a bigger rod that smashes the first rod. The Messiah is a person who is built like a rock, and when the rod strikes that person, he is bruised but the rod is broken beyond repair. It can never be used again like it was before. With the benefit of hindsight, we see that every time that rod struck the Messiah, it got closer to breaking.
We become honorable finishers, loyal to Jesus. When Jesus was arrested, every one of his twelve close followers disgraced themselves and ran off. Peter outdid the others by denying three times that he had ever met Jesus! But Peter became an honorable finisher, the leader of Jesus's followers, and a martyr several decades later. How was that possible? Peter was there when the Holy Spirit arrived on that circle of 120 followers of Jesus, and he became a changed man. Jesus's Spirit got into him, and the rest is history.
We don't expect smooth sailing as messengers of Jesus. If we expect everyone to honor us because we speak up for Jesus, for love, for blessing, for healing, we have not spent enough time looking at Jesus carrying his cross. In spite of all the good he did, the authorities still saw Jesus as a threat that had to be stopped. There will always be plenty of people, including authorities, who will see us the same way. They will use their powers of shame, law, or mob action to stop us.
Moving with the Honor Rhythm - letting it move you; living it out
Living as honorable finishers
As we realize what Jesus was talking about when he said we would have to "carry our cross," we start seeing ourselves in Christ as finishers, and we pray prayers like this:
If we are in Christ, the epitome of honorability, we also become honorable people. Some of those who used to insult us because of Jesus may even change their minds when they see how we handle the insults. They would understand it if we got angry and fought back, but if we carry our cross like Christ carried his, they notice, and some of them will be impressed with our courage.
When that happens, we give Christ all the credit. We know that we were no tougher than anyone else to start with, and we didn't build our endurance by working hard on it. We were no more likely to be loyal to the death than Peter was when he tried it in his own strength. But now that the Spirit has moved into us, we are finishers, and we will make it to the finish line because we are in Christ and he is in us.
That can work for anyone who invites Christ in. Ever since the game-changer when Jesus carried his cross and sent the Holy Spirit, all his followers have what it takes to rise above any opposition God allows to come to us. If we used to be shy or even if we never had the guts for anything hard, the change in us now is all the more obvious. It shows that the strength is not coming from our own toughness but from the living Christ inside us, changing us at the deepest levels of our personality where we can't change ourselves.
Of course, we were not made finishers because we were any tougher than anyone else to start with or because we worked hard and earned this position somehow. We were no more likely to be loyal to the death than Peter was when he tried it in his own strength. But now that the Spirit has moved into us, we are finishers, and we will make it to the finish line because we are in Christ and he is in us.
So can anyone else who invites Christ in. Ever since the game-changer when Jesus carried his cross and sent the Holy Spirit, all his followers have what it takes to rise above any opposition God allows to come to us. If we used to be shy or even if we never had the guts for anything hard, the change in us now is all the more obvious. It shows that the strength is not coming from ourselves but from the living Christ inside us, changing us at the deepest levels of our personality where we can't change ourselves. Honorability is largely "guts." Carrying the cross was a very gutsy thing for Jesus to do.
Honor Season (September 28 - November 21) is the time to re-SYNC with the Honor Rhythm. Remember who we are. Remember how we got here. And act like it--grateful to Christ for carrying his cross and giving us his backbone of spiritual steel. We are loyal through anything, we rise above anything, and we point people to Jesus as the one who makes it all possible.
God, [name of person or group] is/are rejecting and shaming me because I'm tied to you and I talk about it. When they see how I react to them, help them respect me for it. Open their eyes so they can see they have been shaming what they should have been honoring. And even if they don't, help me to finish well.
King Jesus, living source of our spiritual strength,
thank you so much for showing us how to carry a
cross and empowering us to do it like you did.
Thank you for replacing our fatigue and fear with
your stamina. Please forgive and bless the people
who attack us for representing you. They don't
know what they are doing. They think they can
stop the power of your love! Show them they can't,
and let us be the evidence they need in order to
realize you are alive.