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Surprised by glory

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Isaiah 49:5, John 13:37-38
I am made glorious in the sight of the Lord, and my God is now my strength … Peter said to Jesus, “I will lay down my life for you.” And Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for me?”

There were times, as Peter was about to discover, when the most well-intentioned will falls short. Peter betrayed Jesus as surely as Judas betrayed Jesus. And still …

God does not stop in his tracks when we fail in ours. He will not be mocked, nor will he be stopped. Jesus said both to himself and to his disciples, “If God is glorified in the Son of Man, then God will also glorify him in himself, and he will glorify him at once.”

I imagine Jesus suddenly realizing what this means, and saying with a start, “My children, I will be with you only a little while longer.” But his eyes are clear and free from fear, recognizing what he has known in other ways all along.

He will soon be alone, except for the presence of his Father. The Father walks silently with Jesus, and together they move toward glory. I am struck dumb as witness, watching in awe while God rescues us humans racing in circles in our own endless overwrought attempts at being gods of our own.

I too have a well-intentioned will. I will not betray my Father; I will not betray Jesus. I will receive the Holy Spirit and live in homage and humility before God. And then I will fail. And then I will fall on my face in remorse. And then … God will forgive me and say, “Go and sin no more.”

I have my job cut out for me, that’s for sure. But regardless of how I do that job of not sinning, God is not stopped, God is not mocked, and God continues to rescue the human race, including me, from our own damned selves. He goes on about his work, and makes us whole.

I watch your suffering, Jesus. You will be stripped and beaten, crowned with thorns and cruelly killed. All this is coming, and I just stand watching, overwhelmed and guilty in my silence, broken in heart. You called Jerusalem to weeping, and I weep. You are so good and we are killing you. Forgive us, Father. We do not know what we do.

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