Seventh Sunday of Easter
Acts 1: 12-14; 1 Peter 4: 13-16; John 17: 1-11 4 F ather, I have glorified you on earth and fmished the work that you gave me to do. I pray for those you have entrusted to me, because they belong to you.... and in them I am glorified."
John's gospel sets before us the prayer that Jesus prayed on the night before he died. As his earthly ministry drew to its conciuSion, Jesus described his whole life as the 'glory' given to his Father. " I have glorified you on earth." As the prayer continued, Jesus prayed also for us, his disciples. What we are, and what gives meaning to our lives, is again described in terms of `glory.' We are those in whom Jesus is to be 'glorified' in the days following on from Pentecost.
In modem parlance 'glory' is frequently reduced to the superficial vanity of the passing moment. On the lips of Jesus, 'glory' called us to something more substantial. Glory is rooted in the Old Testament, where it is used to describe the power of God breaking into this world.
When God revealed himself to Moses, both at the burning bush and on Mount Sinai, the glory of God shone forth. This 'glory' is nota celestial lighting effect ! It describes the almost tangible presence of God touching our world. Such glory accompanied the birth of Jesus when the glory of God filled the heavens, announcing to shepherds the birth of the saviour.
In Jesus, the glory of God touched the heart of our humanity. "The Word was made flesh, he lived among us, and we saw his glory, the glory that is his as the only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth. From his fulness we have, all of us, received yes, grace in return for grace."
What attracted the crowds to Jesus cannot be precisely expressed. His very presence awakened in them a longing which he alone could satisfy. His words spoke to their hearts. His touch healed their lives.
They had been drawn into the glory of God, now a living and breathing presence. They had been enriched by the glory of God expressed in the love of God's only Son. It is surely in this sense that Jesus describes us as those in whom he will be glorified. The Old Testament relates the story of Moses who was taken up into the glory of God. When he returned from the mountain, his face shone with the glory of God.
Our lives have been touched by the glory of God in a different way. We have become the dwelling place of God, the bearers of this glorious presence. We live and move in the Spirit that has been entrusted to us. The simple and overwhelming truth cannot be avoided: if the presence of God, the glory of God, is to bring light to our world, it will do so through our lives.
We have, in many different ways, witnessed that glory. We have seen it in the faith of the dying, the understanding of the compassionate and the generosity of the selfless. The list could be prolonged endlessly.
The glory of God is to be found in the goodness of ordinary lives. Theirs is the humility that does not cloud the presence of God. May the Spirit open our eyes to the glory of God revealed in the lives of his faithful people. May we rejoice to be the bearers of that glory.