Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Weight of Glory

I've been spending some time this afternoon, surfing around the blogosphere, seeing where it will lead. I've come across a lot of people who are interesting, honest and real Christians.

Sometimes I become keenly aware of how beautiful we all are. We don't reflect often enough on who we are, that we are made in the image of Christ. I think our job is to work with Christ to recapture our image.

I think we view our sin in the wrong light, or rather God's adamant refusal to allow it to live within us. I was laying in bed this morning thinking through this, and it dawned on me that I think why he's so adamant about removing sin from our lives is because it detracts from our beauty. He of course sees Christ when he sees us, but life is a purifying process to bring us into alignment with that image.

I have begun to see sin like a mosquito, circling around us, and God is continually shooing it away. The battle has already been won--sin has been conquered, yet we keep returning to it, and when God convicts us, it's Him swatting away a gnat. Of course, for us it often feels elephantine, but to God, it's an amoeba.

God isn't trying to keep us from having fun--he's attempting to restore us into our true selves. We are beautiful because he made us. There is no greater creation in the heavens. The wonders of the stars in the sky are wan and drab in comparison to the glory that exists in us because of who we truly are.

I love Lewis's Weight of Glory sermon, and for me it's become central as to how I view the world.

The load, or weight, or burden of my neighbour's glory should be laid on my back, a load so heavy that only humility can carry it, and the backs of the proud will be broken. It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal...Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses. If he is your Christian neighbor, he is holy in almost the same way, for in him also Christ vere latitat--the glorifier and the glorified, Glory Himself, is truly hidden.

I recently read something that Gregory the Great wrote about glory, and it's worth adding here.

Yes the angel proclaims the birth of a king, and choirs of angels accompany his voice. Rejoicing together they cry: Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men of good will. Now, before our Redeemer was born in the flesh, we were at variance with the angels, from whose light and purity we were far distanced as a result of the first sin, and of daily sinning. For because, through sinning, we became strangers to God, God's citizens, the angels, regarded us as strangers to their company. Yet seeing that we recognized our king, his fellow citizens, the angels, recognized us again. Now that the king of heaven has taken the earth of our flesh, this angelic aristocracy no longer looks down on our weakness. They have returned to peace with us, and put behind them the reason for the earlier disagreement. They now respect as their colleagues those on whom, at one time, they had looked down as weak and degraded. This is why Lot and Joshua venerated angels and were not forbidden to do so. Yet, when John in his Apocalypse would have bowed down before an angel, that same angel restrained him from any need to do so, saying: You must not do that. I am a fellow servant with you and your brethren. Before our Redeemer came, angels were venerated by human beings and the angels held their peace. Why should this be if the reason is not that our nature, which they once despised, is later taken above them, so that they tremble to see it lying prostrate at their feet? Nor dare they despise what is beneath them as weak, when they venerate it above them in the king of heaven. They do not feel contempt for a human being as a colleague when they adore, above them, a man who is God.

So then, beloved brothers and sisters, let us be careful that no unseemliness degrades us--seeing that, in the eternal foresight, we are both citizens of God and equals of his angels. Let us lay claim to our honor by the way we live. Let no immorality stain us, no shameful thought accuse us, no evil intent plague our minds, none of the rust of envy eat into us, no conceit puff us up, no ambition weaken us with earthly beckonings, no anger set us on fire. For human beings are called gods. Be answerable for yourself, then, against the vices for the honor of God since, for your sake, God became man.

Today, I see the glorious image of God all around me, and for that I am grateful.

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