Sunday, December 22, 2019

22. And we have seen his glory...

Glory is a very important word in John’s Gospel, but it often doesn’t look as people might expect it to. The Hebrew word which is translated as “glory” has at its root a word which means “heaviness” or “substance”. God’s glory is splendid, shiny, substantial, like solid gold. After Moses saw God’s glory on Mount Sinai (Exodus 33.17 -23), his own face shone so brightly that he had to wear a veil over it so he wouldn’t dazzle others. In Luke’s Gospel, God’s glory shines around the angels who announce Jesus’ birth to the shepherds (Luke 2.8). Later on the disciples see Jesus himself shining with glory (Luke 9.28)
In John’s Gospel, though, God’s glory is seen not in shining light, but in Jesus’ death. In the Garden of Gethsemane, just before he is arrested and crucified, Jesus prays “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you.” (John 17.1) Earlier, Jesus tells his disciples that “My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.” (John 15.8), and the fruit he expects them to bear is the fruit of love. “By this everyone willl know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13.35) God’s glory is revealed in Jesus, and in his followers, in costly love and service.

What do you think of when you hear the word “glory”? What is the most glorious thing you have ever seen?
Have you ever felt touched by God’s glory in a moment of pain, fear or failure? How did that happen?
The cross has been depicted in many ways – plain wood or golden and richly jewelled, with Jesus dying , dead or risen in glory on it. What messages do these different images convey to us?

Draw a cross and decorate it as richly as you can. It is a reminder of God’s love. Think about ways in which you can show God’s love to others.

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