"Magnify" here is, in Hebrew, גָּדַל, a verb which means to make greater or even to become, or to grow up. This made me think about the audacity of humans thinking they can magnify God, than whom none can be greater, and whose greatness was before time began and will continue after time is no more. Even less would it be possible for the Ancient of Days to grow up or mature.
And yet, I think this is not only what happens, but what is called for. I say this for two reasons:
- Though God is eternally great in an objective sense, God is often much less in the minds of those who worship God. To mature in my faith is for God's greatness to increase in my own heart and mind. Immature Christians worship an immature God—One they try to manipulate in self-serving prayers; One whose politics agree with theirs; One who is limited to a single nation or religion. Mature Christians pray prayers that let God be God, and which are concerned with the needs of others. Mature Christians do not identify one political platform with the Divine, and refuse to limit God's love to those who vote the way they do. Mature Christians are able to see God in the faith of others—even those they disagree with.
- And just as importantly, in a real physical sense, God allows us to see the Divine mature from a baby in a manger; to a boy questioning his elders in the temple; to a young man presenting himself for baptism, then undergoing temptation and testing; to an itinerant teacher; to the rejected one on the cross; to the risen one whom death could not hold. I need to see this development of the Son of Man if I am to come to faith in the Son of God. To ignore any part of the birth, life, teachings, death, and resurrection of Christ is to remain an immature Christian.
O God, your greatness is beyond my imagining. Yet I am bold to pray that you become ever greater in my own life. You are ancient beyond the memory of any created thing. Yet, as I experience the Christ of the Bible, may you mature in my own mind as both the Human One and the Divine. Because I cannot grasp this by myself, make me a more integral part of the body of Christ. And may I join with my brothers and sisters in the church to magnify you in our community and in our world. I pray in the Name of him who taught me to pray: Our Father...