Sunday, May 04, 2008

Our Desperate Search for Glory

Everyone has some singular event in their lives that they look back to (or forward to) with fondness. Perhaps it is that High School athletic championship. Maybe it is that professional accomplishment, or it could even be some wonderful family achievement.

The world is full of people who want to be something, who want some kind of glory. Why do you think the Guinness Book of World Records is so popular? Some of the bizarre things that are recorded therein were certainly not done for any one's health. We crave glory, we want to be immortalized because of something we have done, be it good or bad. Most people have a real desire to leave their mark on the world. Let's face it, Eve didn't eat of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil because she needed to for nourishment or even because she thought it would taste so much better. She, and all humanity, wanted the glory that is reserved for God alone; the glory that comes with supreme knowledge.

At first glance, Christ's High Priestly prayer from the Gospel reading for the Seventh Sunday of Easter seems to be another bid for glory. We like that, and I'm sure the disciples liked that. You can almost hear them say, "Finally! He's gotten off of that 'repent and believe' soapbox and is going to go after the glory, fame, power, might that is truly His! And, goody for us, we will get a part of the swag for ourselves too."

But to read that beautiful prayer and only see our eventual glory falls far short of our present situation. St. Peter beautifully illustrates the constant strain the Christian is under: Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you.

While it is true that through Christ's glorification we will also be glorified, it is not the time or place to focus only on that. We must own up to the fact that we are sinful. So sinful that we hate God, so sinful that we want to reach up, take Him by the hand and force Him to bless us with His own glory. We are indeed poor, miserable sinners. We must have that blessed humility of repentance. So, with the full realization that we are sinners, we humble ourselves UNDER (not above, not side-by-side, but under--far, far under) God's might and glory. We dare not even lift our eyes to His glory, lest we perish. But, God in His infinite love, does not hate us or cast us aside as we deserve, He loves us and shows us the immutable, everlasting and glorious love He has had for us from the foundation of the world. He shows us this in the person and work of Christ.

Through His humiliating passion and death all of our self-sought glory is nailed to the tree to die. Through His glorious resurrection we have been justified. Through his wonderful ascension, our human nature, with all its sins and ugliness, has been lifted up, by Christ, to the glory of His eternal kingdom. So, we follow this most holy example of the Lamb. We humble ourselves just as He did and really, because He did it first we are now able to. We humble ourselves and bear our cross trusting that in His good time our Father may exalt us.

Our glory is coming, but not at our own hands or in our own time. It comes from the Father through the work of the Son and we are called to be partakers through the Holy Spirit. We humble ourselves, knowing that in His good time God will exalt us and glorify us for all eternity.


jWinters said...

Nice reflection Jim. Sort of reminds me of listening to Don Miller the other weekend talk about how he thinks that fame (seeing one person as better than another person) is a result of the fall. Perhaps given your reflection here, it is more than that and is actually the reason for the fall...that darn fame/glory cocktail does seem to keep us looking out for ourselves, pushing God aside and saying "I'll do it myself," and pushing our neighbor aside.

Thanks for this!

in Christ,

Anonymous said...

Iz time ta update yer blog. Thought yude wanna know. How wuz yer trip? Did Lena scream da whole way?? I hopes not. See, I'm talkin dis way cuz I waz in da south and it rubs off on ta me...