“As high as the heavens are above the earth, so high are my ways and thoughts above yours”.
Isa 55:9 GNB
One of the basic symbols around which much religious thought and sentiment revolves is that of height. Ancient people were afraid of high mountains. No doubt dangerous animals inhabited high mountains, as did birds. There was something eerie about them. And the idea gained ground that “the gods” lived “up there”. Some believed in a “Sky-god”. In the stories about Abraham in Genesis he meets a king, Melkizedek, king of Jerusalem, who is described as the “priest of God Most High”. God and height go together. Anything that is high is thought to be superior to anything that is low. When we say that God is “high over all” or, as in Isaiah 57:15(NIV) he is referred to as “the high and lofty One” we are describing the characteristic of God as “transcendent”. The very idea of God includes this sense of transcendence. He is not only high above the earth, he is vastly superior to human beings in every way. And his ways and thoughts are equally “other” and vastly superior.
Christians incorporate this sense of transcendence in some of their hymns. One is “The Lord Jehovah reigns; his throne is built on high, the garments he assumes are light and majesty” by Isaac Watts. Another is “Immortal, invisible, God only wise, in light inaccessible hid from our eyes” by Walter Chalmers Smith. Then there is “Praise to the holiest in the height, and in the depth be praise” By John Henry Newman. Worship is acclaiming God in his transcendence, and Christ in his glory.
Lord, help me to worship you in your transcendence.