Only One Life

k8281975Remember that you have only one soul; that you have only one death to die; that you have only one life, which is short and has to be lived by you alone; and that there is only one glory, which is eternal. If you do this, there will be many things about which you care nothing.

–Teresa of Avila,
(1515-1582)

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What makes God glorious?

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“Glory” is a timeworn, many-sided, vaguely understood term of rich significance. Most importantly it has to do with God, the source and sum of it. Glory is what inspires wonder and admiration. It is manifested excellence, the outward display of beauty and goodness, the visible demonstration of greatness.

The glory of God is when
God lets us see what He’s like.

It’s when His wonderfulness goes public, His awesomeness comes into view, His splendor is sighted.

We observe the glory of God in creation—an awe-inspiring, but limited view. We get a close-up view when we contemplate Jesus, the human life of God. The knowledge of the glory of God is seen partially in nature, but fully in the face of Jesus Christ.

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Great are the mysteries of creation. Greater still is the mystery of godliness, when the Architect of the galaxies was manifested in human form. The heavens display the greatness of God’s power. The Word made flesh displays the greatness of His love.

The heavens show us God’s hand;
Jesus shows us His heart.

The heavens declare the glory of God, but Jesus of Nazareth is the glory of God. He is the brightness of God’s glory, the express image of His person.

The heavens declare the glory of God in an impersonal, distant way. Jesus brings the glory of God near in a living, breathing, loving Person.

Jesus is the glory of God made human.

And never was He so glorious as when he became horribly inglorious. It happened on a cross—where the worst and the best, the highest and the lowest collided. The crucifixion of the incarnate God did not extinguish His glory, it expanded it. At Calvary the glory of God blazed forth in volcanic abundance.

It was in the moment of greatest ugliness that His beauty shone most brightly. It was in the place of utmost shame that His splendor burst forth. Violence brought virtue to light, as the crushing of a rose releases its fragrance.

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Glory was nailed to a cross and lifted up for all to see. The veil in the temple was ripped open—God’s glory had been revealed. It was the glory of His irrepressible, self-giving, self-sacrificing, redeeming, restoring love. It was the glory of His grace.

The heavens declare a piece of His glory.
The cross declares it all.

Here is the final unveiling of glory. It is a revelation, an earthquake, a feast, a waterfall, a love story, a symphony, a tsunami, a game changer, a thirst quencher, an explosion of hope, a healing balm for the wounds of our broken and flawed lives.

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“Cross” and “glory” are as far apart as two words can possibly be. They are polar opposites. Crucifixion was not just about torture—it was about shame. It was the ultimate disgrace. For Hebrews it meant being cursed. No one ever dreamed a Roman cross could be glorious.

Until God got on one.

He makes all things glorious.

Even a shameful cross.

Even unworthy sinners.

Such is the greatness of His glory.

–Jurgen O. Schulz

God’s artistic style

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Glory is to God what style is to an artist. A painting by Vermeer, a sonnet by Donne, a Mozart aria—each is so rich with the style of the one who made it that to the connoisseur it couldn’t have been made by anybody else, and the effect is staggering. The style of artists brings you as close to the sound of their voices and the light in their eyes as it is possible to get this side of actually shaking hands with them.

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In the words of Psalm 19:1, “The heavens are telling the glory of God.” It is the same thing. To the connoisseur, not just sunsets and starry nights, but dust storms, rain forests, garter snakes, and the human face are all unmistakably the work of a single hand. Glory is the outward manifestation of that hand in its handiwork just as holiness is the inward. To behold God’s glory, to sense God’s style, is the closest you can get to God this side of paradise, just as to read King Lear is the closest you can get to Shakespeare.

Glory is what God looks like
when for the time being
all you have to look at him with
is a pair of eyes.

~Frederick Buechner

Published in: on 10/12/2014 at 5:33  Leave a Comment  
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Retroactive glory

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Heaven, once attained,
will work backwards
and turn even agony
into a glory.

–C. S. Lewis

Published in: on 05/28/2013 at 20:16  Leave a Comment  
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The first sketch

Bellìsimo Atardecer

Heaven is that greater glory
of which Nature is only
the first sketch.

–C. S. Lewis

Published in: on 12/30/2012 at 20:54  Leave a Comment  
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Giving meaning to “glory”

Nature never taught me that there exists a God of glory and of infinite majesty. I had to learn that in other ways. But nature gave the word glory a meaning for me. I still do not know where else I could have found one.

— C. S. Lewis (1898-1963)

Published in: on 08/01/2012 at 8:53  Leave a Comment  
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Making room for others

Self-giving love is the dynamic currency of the Trinitarian life of God. The persons within God exalt, commune with, and defer to one other… Creation is neither a necessity nor an accident. Instead, given God’s interior life that overflows with regard for others, we might say creation is an act that was fitting for God… In creation God graciously made room in the universe for other kinds of beings. God’s splendor [glory] becomes clearer whenever the Son of God powerfully spends himself in order to cause others to flourish… Jesus Christ’s pattern of life in the world reproduces the inner life of God.

–Cornelius Plantinga

The matrix of everything

The Triune God lives in an incomparable celebration of eternal joy. The Father, Son and Spirit have a rich and overflowing life with or without us. They did not decide to create us for their benefit, but for ours—because that is how God lives. That is how God LOVES!

The Father lives for the Son and the Son lives for the Father, and they share all things together in the Spirit. Not self centered, but other centered. Totally other centered—because that is the essential meaning of “God is love.” And this is what “Trinity” is all about. The Three-in-One God is a fountain of blessing and joy and goodness that spills over, that gives and gives and gives. This is who our Creator is, and this is why he creates.

C. S. Lewis pointed out: “We were made, not primarily that we may love God (though we were made for that too), but that God may love us.”

In so doing, He brings glory to His Name, which means—displaying the wonders of his grace. This is God’s highest glory—his goodness, love and grace. What an awesome and astounding God he is! This overflowing love is what prompted him to create—and to redeem. He is intent upon bringing others into the Triune celebration of eternal joy.

–Jurgen Schulz

Why are we here?

God has not willed to live alone, but to create and seek others distinct from himself upon whom to pour out his Spirit, that he might share with them his divine life and glory, and as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, dwell in their midst for ever.

–Thomas Torrance

Heaven could not hold Him

It is as if Jesus had said: ‘The truth is, I cannot live without you. I shall never be quiet till I have you where I am, that we may never part again. Heaven shall not hold me, nor my Father’s company, if you are not with me – my heart is so set upon you. And if I have any glory, you shall be part of it too.”

–Thomas Goodwin (1600 – 1680)

Heaven is not boring

Heaven is not boring.
In fact, only heaven (and heaven’s
colonies on earth) is not boring . . .
(It involves) the most joy-filled,
glory-weighted purpose
any heart has ever imagined:
receiving and giving back infinite, absolute,
inconditional divine love forever . . .
The one thing it can’t be is boring.

–Peter Kreeft

Published in: on 04/30/2011 at 22:34  Leave a Comment  
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