easter 7a: do it for the glory

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Gospels / Historical Books / Lectionary / Old Testament

I’m on the edge of glory
And I’m hanging on a moment of truth
Out on the edge of glory
And I’m hanging on a moment with you
– Edge of Glory, Lady Gaga

In the fourth chapter of First Samuel Israel suffers a major defeat at the hands of the Philistines. Thousands are slaughtered. Israel is crippled.

And the Ark of the Covenant, which had been carried onto the field of battle, was captured.

Phineas’ wife, who was pregnant with his child, learned that her father-in-law was dead. Her husband was dead. And the Ark was gone.

The West Door to Temple Church, London - by Rick Morley With that news she went into labor, and it was so awful that the labor killed her. And, just after giving birth, and before breathing her last, she named her newborn son “Ichabod.”

It was her last living act.

Ichabob means “where is the glory.” For the Glory of the Lord had been taken from Israel.

Notice that it wasn’t the death of her husband which set off the chain of events which led to the premature birth and the premature death. It was the loss of the Glory of God, which inhabited the Ark of the Covenant.

Lady Gaga wrote the power ballad “Edge of Glory” immediately after (so goes the story) the death of her grandfather. She watched him die, and then she sat down at the piano and sang about being on the very edge of glory.

“Glory” is one of those concepts that we sing a lot about in church, Sunday to Sunday. But, I also venture to say that it’s one of those concepts that we have a very difficult time experiencing in day-to-day life.

I mean really, how often do you experience glory? Do you recognize it around you? Do you look for it? If you walked into the Presence of Glory, would you even know it?

But, as humans, we seem to know what it’s like when glory has gone. When it has picked up and went. When it’s been taken from us.

We know what it’s like to sit in the wake of glory when it has passed over the horizon.

In John 17, Jesus talks about being in “glory” before he had come to earth. Before the world began, actually. And, he talks about going back to glory.

But, when he spoke those words he was in its wake. It had gone past the horizon – and he was racing to the horizon to catch it once more.

This passage makes me want to yearn for the experience of glory – not my own, mind you – but God’s. And, not some conjured-up emotionally-manipulated way.

I don’t want to be seduced into the experience of false glory by some preacher, praise-band, arena, etc.

I just want to see, touch, taste, smell, and hear majesty. The Presence.

The Glory.

Ichabod. Where is the glory?

Great question.

Let’s race to the horizon, the edge, with Jesus, to see.