The Glory of God

March 10, 2019





The Glory of God

John 13: 31-38.


Have you ever wondered when God was at his best?


Maybe not.

For some that would always be the wrong question.

God could never be any different.

To imply that God was at his best at one point would mean that at some point he was not at his best.

And there is no point that God isn't at his best.


But then again, our perceptions of God change all the time.

God may be always with us, but sometimes we feel God closer than at other times.

We feel his peace closer at some times than at other times.

We feel his joy closer at some times than at other times.

So I suppose we can ponder on those times we feel God is better than at other times.

That being the case, when would you say that God was at his best?


Maybe at the very start of creation.

That moment when all came into being, when God said, ‘Let there be light...’and there was light.

The organisation of every atom, the placing of every planet. And on our planet the dawn of life and the myriad of all the creatures evolved.

Every time I see a butterfly something in me wants to stop and admire the fragility and the complexity and the beauty of that creation.

Every harvest we celebrate the abundance of creation and how we have a world that can sustain us.

In that moment when creation started, God was good, but for me not at his best.


What about that moment that he gave a vision to Abraham, a vision that of the God that made creation?

For in that moment the distant, powerful being of creation became intimate with one of his creations. God was willing to be known. God was willing to be understood.

And from that moment the three great faith monotheistic faiths began as they sought to understand that vastness of being.

In that moment when he was made known God was good, but for me not at his best.


What about that moment that God was seen as the redeemer?

God’s people were slaves in Egypt with no ability to free themselves from generations of slavery.

And God sent a messenger Moses to tell the people they would be free, and over time they were free. God freed them from a despotic Pharaoh, he led them across a wilderness and brought them to a Promised Land.

In that moment when God revealed himself as a Saviour God was good, but for me not at his best.


What about that moment over two thousand years ago when God was heard in the cry of an infant?

That moment when God came down to earth and spoke his words of love through a human mouth, when he touched the sick and the lost with human hands.

When he spoke to us with a human voice.

When he taught us how to live by living the life we should live.

When he was willing to be tortured and even die on a cross, proclaiming with his last words that we are forgiven.

Surely that was when God was at his best?

Maybe not.


Or what about that wonderful Easter morning when death was defeated forever.

When the stone was rolled away and the disciples saw that death had no power over the Son of God.

When we saw the power of God to save.

For if death was defeated then what was there to fear?

We could face all the pain of life, the suffering of life, the betrayals of life, because they were not the end of life.

Surely that was when God was at his best?

I don’t think so.


Maybe it will be at the end of time. When the trumpet of the Lord is blown and this world and all its failures are defeated and the new heaven and the new earth is revealed and all of God’s people are resurrected and there is no more sorrow or pain or tears, but only joy and peace and love ever lasting?

That moment when we finally understand all that has been and all that had to be. That moment when all the sources of evil are finally wiped away and all is under the authority of God. that the universe answers only to God’s justice and everything is right.

Surely that is when God will be at his best?

Maybe, maybe not.


You see the truth is, that human beings are very human centric.

We are basically selfish creatures and look at life through selfish eyes.

The pain we feel the most tends to be our own pain.

The joy we feel the greatest tends to be our own joy.

Occasionally, very occasionally, we can rejoice for someone else, or mourn for someone else.

Occasionally we can smile at the success that someone else has had, or shed a tear for the sorrows of someone else. But on the whole the greatest joy we feel, the greatest sorrow we feel, is our own joy and sorrow.


I don’t think God minds, I think he understands that that is where we start off from, but just because we start off from that point doesn’t mean that he expects us to stay there. He hopes we will grow, mature, be better than our beginnings, be stronger than our temptations, be wiser than our instincts.


So that being the case, if I was to say when I thought God was at his best I would say in a park in Glasgow, that was when God was at his best.

For that is when he came to me.

Lost, unsure, very aware that I was not the person I wanted to be, not the person others thought I was.

And it was at that moment I was assaulted with a truth I had never expected to believe.

It didn't matter what others thought of me.

It didn't matter what I thought of myself.

What mattered was that I was loved by God.

He wasn't the creator of the universe, he was my creator.

He wasn't the redeemer of slaves long ago, he was my redeemer.

He didn’t speak to disciples long ago, or touched lepers long ago, he touched me.

He died on a cross and rose from the grave so that I could find a place of love and peace and hope in eternity.


And if we are truthful I suspect that we are all the same, that moment that we saw God at his best, was that moment we saw that he loved us, that he cared for us.

That moment of clarity when we knew that we were never alone in the universe, that no matter what we faced that he would be with us.

That moment when we know his presence is always there for us.

That we are not defined by our mistakes, that mistakes now became the way we learn and grow and mature.

That we are not defined by our failures, because through our failures we see the power of God to forgive and renew.

That we are not defined by our weakness because through our weakness we see his strength and power to do amazing things through us.

That we are not defined by our defeats, because every time we fall his hands come and raise us up again, putting us back on our feet so that we can restart our journey with greater perseverance and wisdom.


That is when we see God at his greatest, at his best.

As I have loved you, so you must love one another. If you have love for one another then everyone will see that you are my disciples.


And maybe that is when the world can see the glory of God, that is when the world can see God at his greatest, at his best...

When they experience that love for themselves.

When they feel that God’s love is there for them.

And they can feel it, they can experience it, when they feel that love through us, when they experience that love through us.

When at a moment least expected, they know that God is there for them, because they can see God is there for them through us, that he is their creator, their redeemer, their saviour, that God died for them and rose again for them, that he has a place for them in his eternity.


When was God at his best? Maybe it’s the wrong question. Maybe the tough question we should be asking ourselves is, ‘When will we allow the world see God at his best through us?’


As I have loved you, so you must love one another. If you have love for one another then everyone will see that you are my disciples.





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