Glory is a touchy topic for me. Ringing in my ears still are the harsh words of a woman berating the death from cancer of a woman at the school we both taught at. Where is the glory of the Lord in someone dying of cancer? she screamed at me. I don’t think she understood what glory is. If the glory of God only resides in healthy people, then we are in trouble.
Perhaps a better memory I have of the word, glory, is the wife of a pastor of a church I attended twenty years ago in Big Bear, California. She and her husband had served as missionaries in the Philippines for a decade before moving up to the little Calvary Chapel in the San Bernardino Mountains. She mentioned that in the heart of Manila, she longed for some natural scenery, to see the glory of nature. God reminded her that the orphans and widows she served daily were made by Him too. That they reflected His glory far more than crystal springs and lush forests.
But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. 2 Cor. 3:18
Crazy to think that we reflect the glory of God and yet I can’t help but think of the first miracle of Jesus. Whenever people explain the miracle of turning water into wine as a sign that Jesus liked to party or that it merely pointed to the final wedding feast in heaven, I feel dissatisfied. The biblical metaphors always run deep and so this one must have more depth than the sermons I have heard on the topic.
The miracle contains the tension of every human life that struggles with God. We are the earthen jars. Quite literally, for the thirteen elements that make up clay comprise our human bodies as well. A little ironically, we are filled about three-quarters of the way with water. So Jesus comes along and fills those urns with fine wine. Transformation indeed. Could it be that He intends to transform us as well? To fill us with His presence?
I am reminded of the Last Supper. This is My blood, poured out for you. Drink this in remembrance of Me. The disciples imbibed the life of Christ and so do we, too, in the sacrament.
Every year or so, for the last six years, I have moved. This last one, the move to end all moves, as I think of it, took me 3500 miles through five mountain ranges. The earth is certainly glorious. The mountains showed themselves in all their moods to my husband and I. From sunrises that crowned the majestic peaks to mists that covered the granite faces, the mountains, immense and immovable, echoed the slogan of the Yukon Territory, Larger than Life.
Relocation is listed among the most stressful things a person can do, along with changing jobs, losing a spouse, divorcing, etc… My poor husband has to wrestle with two of these events as he enters his second day at work. Moving reminds me that my body is more tired than it was when I was thirty. At fifty, most people are settled in their communities. They have the friends they will likely have until they retire or expire. Their plans are pretty set.
I suppose that when I utterly surrendered my life to God’s will, that I thought my life would be somewhat the same as everyone else’s. But surrender is absolute. I placed myself at the mercy of whatever He had for me. And He has taught me a great deal about community and solitude. I make friends easily and so He brings me back to the unsettled life and the loneliness of a new community time and again. And I relocate from glory to glory, every time. New people, new avenues of learning and yet also, the peace needed for a writer greet me at each new home.
I make a game of refusing to complain. I learn each new home and its eccentricities quickly. My furniture gets arranged and rearranged until it fits well enough. I started out with fifteen thousand pounds of stuff. Now I am down to nine, which is still too much to move every year. It will arrive in the next few days and the flurry of https://poemachronicles.com/love-your-heart/unpacking will begin and culminate with the question of what to do with the boxes.
The new Alaska house is nicer than the one in Wisconsin though less fancy than the Houston or the Macon homes. It is all beige and cream, a blank slate waiting to be filled with my life. A vessel, I guess, like the urns filled with water. My artwork and books, leather couch and a walnut table will bring a sense of context to it. What makes it home is not the outside but what it will be filled with; my memories and nine thousand pounds of comforts and minor luxuries. I will fill it with the lesser glories of my years.
My real home is, of course, not here. This rental body, mostly beige too, will eventually evict my spirit. But in the meantime, I want God to move in, to give my soul context and to fill it with His glory. I want to be filled with the good stuff, the excellent wine.