Thursday, May 07, 2009
Glory Appears Again
I was listening this morning to scholar, teacher, and Bishop of Durham, N.T. Wright, talk about a book of his (Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense) and take questions from the audience (its a 7-part lecture I would suggest listening to). Its been out a while now, but I've never read it, so I gave it a whirl!
As he was lecturing about beauty being one of those things that we just get. It is hard to explain and even not completely agreed upon, but we understand that this thing (whatever we are talking about) is just beautiful. There is a glory to it, a mystery to it, an attractiveness to it. Some are so attracted to it that they want to begin studying it much like a musician, enamored by the glory of a symphony, is draw to understand the intricacies of music. They go to college looking to dive deep into this mystery and find that the glory has disappeared. Wright says that it sometimes takes years for the glory to appear again, if at all.
At this point in his lecture, I was struck. I couldn't help but think about how this happened to me in grad school with my theological studies. The attractive glory and mystery of God disappeared for me. I was no longer captivated by Him as I once was.
Oddly enough, when I'm being captured by these thoughts, Wright says something like, "While this is a whole other study, this same thing [about music] happens with theological studies."
Having been removed from my theological studies (proper) now for 4.5 years, there is a small element of rediscovery happening in my soul. God's glory and mystery is reappearing. The glimmer I got recently was in a conversation about my life in college. I spoke of being caught up in the Spirit, spiritual warfare, trusting God, speaking to demons, and more.
Here it is: As I recalled the glory of God being revealed in my life during that time, I then realized (or God revealed to me) that I have lost God's love; I haven't been loving the other. My heart, as Bernard of Clairvaux would say, was loving self for self's sake. Clairvaux might contend that I was even in the second degree of love where I was loving God for self's sake, but I realized (once again) that my love was not motivated from a deep desire for God, but for self.
I wonder what would happen to this campus ministry if I would let God's glory be exactly that...His. What does that look like? I wonder what would happen if I began to love the other deeply, to long after the mystery of God, to groan for his people, to rest in his love above all else. How will God use this? Well, I'm going to try it out and see what happens!
Will you join me?