The Sunday Sermon: January 18, 2015 – Radiate Christ’s Glory
+ In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
I don’t know about you, but I was just about floored by what we asked God to do to us and for us in our opening collect this morning.
“Grant that your people, illumined by your Word and Sacraments, may shine with the radiance of Christ’s glory, that he may be known, worshipped, and obeyed to the ends of the earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord…”
The line that really gets me is “may shine with the Radiance of Christ’s Glory…”
As we move through this season of Epiphany, considering the several manifestations of Christ, today, I want to talk a little bit of the Glory of God.
The problem I have, though, is that all the definitions of what exactly God’s glory is fall short of, well, the Glory of God!
In Hebrew, glory was a common word for “weight” or “heaviness”. It expressed how much one was worth. “Worth ones weight in Gold” might be a way of expressing a great amount of glory.
In Greek, the word that was used for Glory mean “renown” or “fame.”
So, as we mix these two definitions together, glory means ones honor, importance, or majesty.
But these words fail to fully express what we mean by God’s Glory.
We might add to that definition God’s awesomeness, power, strength, love, justice, truth, and goodness when it is manifested to someone or some people.
For example, when Moses was on the mountain with God, receiving the Law and the 10 commandments, he asked God that he might see his glory. But God wouldn’t allow Moses to see his Glory – he only allowed Moses to see his back. The full vision of God’s Glory – God’s face – was too much to be seen. It was too powerful. So Moses was only given a glimpse of the Glory of God as he passed by.
When the Bible talks about God’s glory, especially in the prophets, it talks about glory in terms of brightness: God’s brightness, shining on a dark, hurting, sinful world.
The prophet Isaiah talks of Nations streaming to the light of God’s glory – because all the people of the world see the Goodness and Power of God shining
And there’s also the fact that when Moses came down off the mountain, Moses’ face continued to radiate God’s glory.
God’s Glory shined through Moses – so much so, that the people asked him to veil his face because it was too much for them to look at.
But this story of Moses indicates something else, too. God’s glory, is you might say, contagious. Moses in the presence of God’s Glory was transformed. Just being in the presence of God changed Moses. Perhaps, we might say, like a smile that is infectious, or a person who always cheers up everyone in a room just by their presence, but multiplied thousands of times, of course!
Our Collect this morning indicates that you and I are called to be Illumined by the Glory of Christ. What does that mean?
Well, I think it means that Christ’s life is supposed to shine in us, giving us that life that he wants for us – a life characterized by Faith, Hope, and Love – a life of peace, and joy in him.
But we also prayed that the glory would radiate from us so that everyone, even to the ends of the earth, might come to know, worship, and obey him.
I want to suggest to you what I think that means and does not mean, in practical terms.
One of the most significant part of our lives as Christians, is sharing with others the Joy we have at being a follower of Christ.
How would you describe your joy in being a Christian? Have you ever stopped to think about how you might articulate that?
Scripture tells us that we are going to have to given an account of the faith that is in us. Have you ever thought what your account of faith might sound like?
Maybe there’s some homework for you to do over this next week.
That ability to talk about our faith is very important. The people of the world are deep in their hearts hungry to hear the Good News of God. People are hurt – and we know the physician of souls.
So I want to challenge you today to be able to talk about your faith. If you don’t know what you might say, come and talk to me. I’d be happy to help you figure it out.
But the second dimension of this is that we are called to Radiate Christ’s Glory. Now, as some of you know, I recently took my test to become a Amateur Radio Operator, a “Ham” in the lingo of the hobby.
And I’ve been thinking a lot about antenna’s and radio waves lately.
A radio way radiates from the antenna, because power is comeing from outside the antenna. The antenna is really just a passive thing. It just sits there and let’s the radio send signals to it.
In the same way, you and I can be antennas transmitting God’s glory out into the world. The source of that Glory is not us. It comes from somewhere else.
But the way that we get that something else into us so that we can radiate that Glory is in two ways:
In the Word of God and in the Sacraments – especially through Holy Communion.
As we regularly feed upon Scripture and the Sacrament of Christ’s body and blood, we are transformed by the presence of God – just like Moses was transformed by the presence of God on the Mountain.
God’s presence in our lives, changes our lives. It changes the way that we think, the way that we act, the way that we relate to others. And as others come to see how different we are, what they are really seeing is the Glory of God at work in our lives, and the Glory of God radiating forth from us.
And, you know, it’s funny, because sometimes, the world doesn’t like that. They want us to veil our faces, not talk about religion in public places, and even call us “goody two shoes” because of how our lives are transformed.
When the world does that, when it rejects us, and reviles us, it seems to me that it’s a great indicator that the glory is radiating.
Let us Pray:
Almighty God, whose Son our Savior Jesus Christ is the light of the world: Grant that your people, illumined by your Word and Sacraments, may shine with the radiance of Christ’s glory, that he may be known, worshipped, and obeyed to the ends of the earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, now and for ever. Amen.