“You have got to see this! It’s awesome!”
So, finally, I give in, sit at my computer, and visit the site to see this awesome sight I’d been hearing about – a Bangladesh laborer stacking and balancing 22 large bricks on his head, then carrying them – in a tall stack on his head – off a barge, across a small plank, and off to a building project.
Wasn’t that awesome? Awesome is our description for a lot of neat, but earthly things – How about that awesome dunk on Sportscenter? Did you see that dog that barks “I love you? Wasn’t that AWESOME?
God’s Word and God’s people proclaim that the God we know in Jesus Christ is an awesome God, but we have another word, an ancient word for overwhelming holiness and majesty…
When we point to the One who balances the building blocks of creation, from sub-atomic particles to entire galaxies – when we sing praise to the Creator and Sustainer of balancing bricks and dunked basketballs and that best Christmas recipe and beautiful music and newborn babies – we shout GLORY or we sing in the old way, with the angels “GLORIA!”
The angel appeared to those shepherds long ago, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and the angels exulted, “You have got to see this – God’s glory embodied in a newborn baby, swaddled, just like your mama wrapped you.”
In the tradition of the ancient church, it was Ireneas of Lyon who said gloria Dei, vivens homo: God’s glory is a living human being.
In The Weight of Glory, C. S. Lewis writes: “There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations — these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit. Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses. If he is your Christian neighbor, he is holy in almost the same way, for in him also Christ …the glorifier and the glorified, Glory Himself, is truly hidden.”