Monday, February 27, 2017

Glory: My Lenten Discipline

Yesterday's Collect for the Last Sunday after the Epiphany, along with a couple of the Scripture readings, brought me back to the word "glory" that titles this blog. The prayer yesterday asserted that if we behold "by faith the light of his [Jesus'] countenance," we will "be strengthened to bear our cross" and "be changed into his likeness from glory to glory."  What a process!

My preaching instructor in seminary liked to ask us, "What would that look like if you saw it walking down the street?" By this he was always encouraging us to be cautious of using pious words, like "glory," without giving people a clear vision of just what it was you were talking about.  Jesus did that largely by telling parables that stretched the ordinary affairs of his hearers into upside-down ways of being in the world.  Paul, at first glance, seems to break my instructor's rule in major ways, and yet, he was almost always responding to the ongoing life of a community.  Our problem is that we don't always know much about the stories which are inspiring his rhetoric.

"Glory" is probably one of the more slippery words that comes out of the Bible.  It is used a great deal:  348 times in the NRSV translation (155 of them in the New Testament).  But what does it mean?  It seems like a relatively urgent question if our Christian journey is indeed a journey "from glory into glory."

So I have found my Lenten discipline.  40 days with the word "glory."  By Easter I'd like to have a better sense of what glory looks like when I see it on the street, or, perhaps more to the point, in my life and that of my fellow traveler's.

I'll share at least some of my thoughts here.  Happy Lent!

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