“Then, the glory of the Lord will be revealed
and all flesh shall see it together.”
The other day as I listened to my favorite devotion app (Pray-As-You-Go) this was part of the reading of the day. I love these Advent readings from Isaiah and PAYG always has some lovely, ponderous questions to chew on. The question they asked this day was, “What will the glory of the Lord revealed mean in your life?” Good, huh? I thought about it for quite a while and realized that, to me, the glory of the Lord is revealed in human beings loving each other. I believe that God’s glory is revealed in nature, too, but for today’s devotion I want to concentrate on humans loving each other.
That day was the 108th anniversary of my Dad’s birth. Stewart Woodrow Gainan was born just after the election of 1912 and was named after newly elected, but not yet inaugurated, Woodrow Wilson. I still marvel at that little fact as I thought I was a rare Democrat among my ancestors, but there it is—my dad was named after Woodrow Wilson. Whenever I think about God immensely loving us, I remember my dad, who gave me a glimpse of what an extravagant love is. My dad was forty-three when I, his only child, was born. To say that I was loved extravagantly would be an understatement. I could do no wrong in my dad’s eyes and it’s a good thing my mom acted more reasonably, or I’d have been terribly spoiled. As it turned out, I was terribly well-loved and that gave me a picture of how a tender, loving God dotes on creation.
God’s glory is being revealed in our time and place when people love each other. When parents love children, and neighbors love neighbors, there is God’s glory. When people think of others first and take steps to protect and help each other, there is God’s glory. When people seek justice for each other and strive to lift each other up so everyone can live a worthwhile life, there is God’s glory, right there. God’s glory isn’t just for the afterlife or if we deserve it. That’s the coolest part of the crazy economy of God’s glory. It’s over-the-top, too much. It’s twelve baskets of leftovers after feeding the five thousand. It’s a lavish anointing with expensive, perfumed oil, done with love.
In Exodus 33:17-18, Moses and God are conversing like a couple of intimate friends. God assures Moses that God will go with him in his efforts to free the Israelites. Moses, seeming a bit dubious says, “Show me your glory!” Moses wanted to see what God’s glory revealed would look like, too. And God describes it in terms of compassion and mercy. God’s glory isn’t just for the deserving or those performing the right rituals. God’s glory was revealed to the Israelites many times in the desert, not long after Moses and God conversed. God provided what the Israelites needed to survive in the desert– manna came from heaven, water flowed from a rock, all for the whining, irritable Israelites. God’s glory was shown to the crabby, not just reserved for the well-behaved.
Jesus was the perfect example of God’s glory revealed in the world. God was so eager to share compassion and mercy that Jesus entered the world to show us exactly what God’s glory revealed looks like. The lesson is intense, but clear. Love one another. I don’t know how something so simple can be so hard at the same time, but it sure can be! This time of Advent can be a time to warm us up for the Incarnation of God with us. God comes among us to be our good shepherd, cradling the lost, seeking the forgotten and healing those who suffer. And, in that, is the revelation of God’s glory. Jesus is the greatest example of God’s glory revealed, and those in our lives who have taught us to love are good examples, too. God’s glory revealed is love shared. Through Moses, through Jesus, and even through Stewart Woodrow Gainan…and even, through me.
Gracious God show us your glory! Reveal to us how you are working in the world. We can see it more clearly if we just look in a mirror… For, in your wisdom, you use our imperfect little selves to reveal your glory. When we love as you taught and commanded, your glory is revealed. Please help us to keep our eyes open to see your glory through the love all around us. And help us to show your glory through our love of others. Amen!