Ever since our community group met two weeks ago, I’ve been thinking about glory.
Every week in community groups we discuss the previous week’s sermon with some discussion questions, and this past week we were in John’s gospel in Chapter 13:31-35:
“When [Judas] had gone out, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and glorify him at once. Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You will seek me, and just as I said to the Jews, so now I also say to you, ‘Where I am going you cannot come.’ A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
And we got to talking about glory and what glory means since it is such a highlight in this passage. Words came up like praise and beauty and holiness, and then someone asked if “glory” is ever used elsewhere in our common vocabulary. We stumbled upon the phrase where someone is “in their glory” when they are fully themselves. A person who is inclined to bake, surrounded by pans and flour, flushed with joy. An articling student finding the perfect clause to finish their piece. A barista perfecting the most beautiful cappuccino leaves you could imagine.
People are “in their glory” when they fully bear the image they were created to bear – that of God Himself! God as Worker, Creator, Thinker… People are further in their glory when they do the thing that no other person could do. Because each person is created uniquely, they alone can bear the particularities of that image of God.
This St. Irenaeus quote on how humans who are fully alive bear the image of God came up too: “The glory of God is a man fully alive.”
We also realized that when Jesus says that God will be glorified (as Jesus goes to the cross), it means that he will be most fully himself. What a wondrous thing! God, taking on the most humble and weak form possible – a crucified human being – is the posture in which God tells us he is most fully himself. He is the only one who could do that and he was at his best in doing that – bearing the most full image possible of inexhaustible love and grace. Incredible. Glory.