God's Strange Glory

Posted 3/29/2018

Scripture: John 13:1-17, 31b-35

“Now the Son of Man has been glorified.” (Jn 13:31b) Glorified how? In the taking up of a towel and the menial task of washing his disciples feet? In Judas’ departure to betray his Lord? In the coming crucifixion? As we listen to Jesus words about glory, there seems to be very little glory to be seen.

And yet… and yet, there is glory aplenty. The glory of forgiveness given to sinners — even to Judas. The glory of God seen in God’s faithful, forgiving grace offered even at the cost of a cross. The glory of new life promised to all who trust in Jesus. 

Yet what a strange glory it is. It isn’t at all like the glory we normally expect. No celebrity status here; only a humble servant. No star power, only cross power. No shouts of triumph and joy as were heard on Palm Sunday; only a cry of “Father, forgive them.” Truly, there are very few signs glory to be seen here. 

And yet… and yet there is glory aplenty. The glory of God’s power revealed in weakness. The glory of God’s wisdom revealed in the foolishness of the cross. The glory of God that doesn’t end with the death of Jesus, but moves over the next 3 days to the resurrection of Jesus and to his ascension.

But in the meantime, there is betray, denial, and rejection to be faced. There is a cross to be borne. There is death, not life, in the air. There are very few signs of glory here.

And yet… and yet there is glory aplenty. For in the face of death, Jesus shows the glory of God — the humble glory of God who stoops to our weakness — in a basin and a towel. In water, and in bread and cup. In a command to love— to love not just when it is easy but to the very end, even as he has loved. To love the betrayer. To love the denier. To love the crucifier. 

It is in those strange things — seen in the gift the humble washing of his disciples’ feet, in the gift of broken bread and poured out wine — that God’s strange glory is revealed during this night. It is in the gift of a love that loves us to the end — even to a cross — that God’s strange glory is revealed during every day of our lives.