Sunday, June 24, 2012

Loneliness and God's Glory

Who we are. The Glory of God. Jesus on earth. Our relationships with others.

Somehow, the service this morning encompassed so many things ranging through my head.

I've been lonely. Very lonely. This past year has been the first time since I was five that I wasn't living in Longview. Do you know what this means? I had friendships that spanned 13 years of my life. It has been a long time since I haven't had close friends immediately down the street, or just a phone call away.

Now I'm in a new place, with the knowledge that I'm leaving in just over a month. I'm making friends here--I'm not isolating myself.  But there is a difference between new and old friendships, and friendships you'll be around for and one's your about to say goodbye to.

I don't want to whine, or complain, but I just want it to be clear that this has been the consuming factor of my days. At work, at home, and around other people. This simple knowledge that I don't have the deep wells of friendships to draw from that I had grown so, so used to. This knowledge of being alone isn't something that I can shake easily.

That's simply a precursor to what I do want to talk about.

And a phrase that has caused me to clench my jaw every time I heard it for the past five years at least. "For the glory of God's name" (or any variation of "for" and "God's glory")

Everything, for God's glory? Jesus' death, ultimately for God's glory? Our praise, solely for the glory of His name?

In my mind I envisioned it like this-- 
God, shinning in sky like the sun. Breaking through the clouds, in brilliant golds and painful white. The clouds only serving to make his light more obvious, more startling, more awe-some. 

Jesus, coming to earth, pointing us to look at this great light. His death, his resurrection, only for us to be able to see this light.

Us, running through the streets, shouting and exclaiming "Look! See that light! Isn't God's glory amazing?"

This idea, this scenario… it did not match up with any of my interactions with God. When I found myself most wanting to shout out praise to God--if wasn't because of some holy light I'd caught a glimpse of…. it was Him. My god, my savior, my Lord. I was most filled with awe, when He'd talk to me. When I'd, for a moment, understand how united Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and the Father are--and that they wanted me to be united with them. When God would tell me something about myself, that I'd never thought of before, but made me become such a 'better' person as I grasped that tidbit of truth.

I always felt like Jesus came that we might know God, see who He is, have our bonds removed that we could love Him and be loved. 

I'm not sure this is all lining up right or making sense, but I'm gonna keep trying.

The sermon at church today was about John 17:22-25. Specifically this-- "The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; 23  I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected [a]in unity, so that the world may [b]know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me."

Okay, listen to this… The glory God gave Jesus, Jesus has given to us. THAT we may be one, just as Jesus and the Father are one.  SO THAT the world may know… God's glory, because isn't that what Jesus just gave us? No. that the world may know that the Father sent Jesus, and loved us. Even as He loved His Son, Jesus.

His glory, to us, so we can be united… so others can know God sent Jesus, and that he loved us.

So what then does God's glory result in? A great shining light? Or unity and love and knowing God? (Why not both?)

Glory of God… the other passages that the pastor mentioned were these--
We have all fallen short of the glory of God.
Moses, being turned into a human glowstick by God's glory (paraphrase, of course. :P  Exodus 34:29-30,33)
This glory is the manifestation of the entire character of God through Jesus' life -- paraphrase of John 1:14

Here's how I processed it all in my notes…

God's glory. . .
          that we may be one.
         that others may know He sent Jesus.
        that they may know He loves.

God's glory. . . 
          Not far off.
                 Given to us. (by Jesus)
          Not pointless to "bring" (giving glory to God)
                 It's the manifestation of God's character.

God's glory.
          Glory to God's name.
          Praise be His name.
                              His character.
                    His unity.
                    His love.
                    He is Good.

Do you see? God's glory isn't some far off thing to magnify--it's all you are captivated by and WANT to praise Him for.

God's glory.

How does this connect with being lonely?
Very, very strongly. 
If God has given me His glory, if He has come to dwell in me… and He desires unity and love. Tell me, what does that mean for me? First, that I have God to be with. "The riches of Your love, will always be enough. Nothing compares to Your embrace" (and I'm not talking about that picture of the bible hugging somebody… that still creeps me out) And second… His glory, that I might be united with believers, for the world to see.   Because, Jesus says "that they may be one". They. Plural. So God's plan involves having this same unity with others. And that is something to hope for, to hang on to. Knowing that I have a close, close friend with me now, and that He desires for me to have more.

This really, really excites me. God is here for the loneliness now, and He has plans for me that involve other people. He isn't the kind of God that works alone--after all, He works is a plural that acts as a singular. Three, acting in perfect unity, showing us what unity truly looks like. 

I hope this all makes sense, I wanted to share it because it excites me so much. Maybe it'll mean something to some of you too :)  


Eclectic Elegance said...

Ooh. John 17 is one of my favorite chapters anyway...and I really liked this blog post and your thoughts / experiences coming out of that passage. :)

Mary said...

EE--Thanks :) I really like John 17 too. This church I'm going to has been going through the book of John, they've been on chapter 17 every time I've gone--so at least a month.