Changed from glory into glory

Alison Christian

The Pentecostal church used the local parish church for its services on a Sunday afternoon. The local vicar used to see the husband and wife ministry team come out after their service, often three hours long, looking bright and happy.  Often she would say to him,

“We have seen the glory today, vicar.  We have seen the glory!”

Sometimes the wife said, “Have you ever seen the glory, vicar?”

To which the vicar would reply, in a typically understated English and Anglican manner, “Well…yes…um…good for you…”  (I heard this story from the vicar so I am neither maligning him nor the Church of England.)

One day the vicar happened to see the lady minister before the service began.  It was a grey and miserable day, the sort of day when the dampness gets into your bones and into your spirits; yet she looked as content and ever.  The vicar couldn’t help asking her why she was so cheerful on such a grey and miserable day; after all she hadn’t yet had the tonic which her worship was to her.  She hadn’t seen the glory.

“Ah, yes, Vicar,” was her reply, “But I am going to see the glory.  I see the glory every day.”

Every day this woman got up and went out into the world expecting to see and looking for the glory of God, and because she was expectant and because she looked, she saw it.  Yesterday we had the story of the Transfiguration as our gospel reading.  We also had part of Peter’s second letter in which he says,

You will do well to be attentive to this as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.  (2 Peter 1:19b)

The disciples gazed on Jesus in his glory and Peter, remembering this invites us to do the same in our daily life.  We are invited to gaze at Jesus in scripture, and the glory of God in creation, through poetry, music, art – whatever brings us into a state where we are attending to that which gives life in all its fullness.  In time the day will dawn in us, too, and the morning star of love and delight will rise in our hearts.

We can all see the glory with practice.  We can all see the glory because it is there.  We just have to expect it.