to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus
throughout all generations,
forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:21
In February, I sat in a hotel conference room with about 40 other people. We were all there to find out one thing - to find out more about this church plant we all had heard about. We all came from various churches all around our area - God drew us together that night. As our pastor was speaking and sharing about the vision for this new church, one word stood out to me - glory. Now, glory is something we Christians hear about often and say and sing about frequently. But there was something about the way our pastor spoke about glory that made me think. Why is he so passionate about bringing God's glory to this town? Isn't that what every church ultimately works for?
James MacDonald sums-up this big God-word in chapter 3: Remember that glory is any manifestation of God, glory is evidence for God, it is proof of God's existence. Glory is when we see something that could not be by itself, which is everything our eyes fall upon. And while the creation is whispering His glory and the saved are singing His glory, the gospel of the Son is heralding the message: there's a God, there's a God, there's a God! (pg. 99)
So, glory is a God word. It's a church word. We use it a lot. We say we're doing it in the church. But are we really glorifying the Almighty? Church has become a horizontal pursuit - proclaiming truth while ignoring grace, avoiding truth while teaching an ubiblical view of grace, clinging to personal comfort in worship, allowing preaching on the pastor's thoughts and experiences rather than proclaiming God's word... these are all part of the horizontal church (John 1:14, John 7:18, Mark 12:30). But God never intended the church to be horizontal. It is supposed to be Vertical - man seeking God's glory and God displaying His manifest presence.
Let's stop making church about me. Let's put an end to seeking out our comfort zones within the church walls. Let's stop using church to pursue our own desires, our ambitions. Let's start proclaiming God's glory. Let's start seeking it.
Show us your glory, Lord!