Moses said, “Please show me your glory.” And [the LORD] said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The LORD.’ (Exodus 33:18-19)
“For every look at yourself, take ten looks at Christ.” (Robert Murray M’Cheyne)
At a certain time each year, the moon will appear much larger than usual in the sky. This incredible sight is known as a “supermoon,” and it occurs when there’s a Full Moon or New Moon at the same time as the moon’s closest approach to the earth. People all over the world stare up into the night sky and marvel at the enormity and grandeur of the annual supermoon.
However, the striking thing is that the sun comes up the next day, chasing away the night and reminding us all where the light actually comes from. The supermoon, beheld by many the night before, possesses no real light of its own. Even at its most impressive, the moon is merely borrowing its light so it can come a little closer to earth to impress us. In reality, we have the sun to thank for the supermoon.
God desires for His church to be–dare I say it–impressive; at least in all the ways that count in His economy. In other words, the world should be able to see real glory in the midst of His gathered people. But this is not something we can achieve on our own. In and of ourselves, we are incapable of conjuring up anything meaningful or noteworthy. No, just like the supermoon, any radiance we possess must be borrowed. It must come from somewhere. In order for our presence in this world to count for something, we need a second-hand glory from a greater light.
However, we have a problem. So often we don’t even have categories for the glory of Christ and all the ways it is meant to intersect with our everyday lives. We get so caught up in our relentless hustle of work, sleep, repeat that we are in danger of losing our awareness of His presence. And if we’re not careful, before we know it, our worldliness can leave our hearts totally desensitized to the thing that matters most.
Thankfully, Exodus 33:18 enables us to see just how susceptible we are to this glory deficiency. Moses’s simple prayer cuts through all the noise and reminds us of what we should be praying for every Lord’s Day: “Please show me your glory.” This is crucial because every now and again we get sluggish and we find ourselves needing renewed motivation for coming to church. If we show up for anything less than an encounter with God’s glory, our gatherings will never have their intended impact on our lives.
Staring Long And Hard at Jesus
In Exodus 34:30, Moses came off the mountain aglow with the radiance of God. We must do the same. That’s why we come to church, to re-orient our lives around the very real and very present glory of Christ so that the world can look through us and see Him.
You see, the glory of Christ has a residual effect. As we are exposed to it over time, we are conformed to it. Our hearts become less touchy and more receptive. Our minds become less preoccupied with shallow agendas and more focused on the beauty of Jesus. And our priorities are re-ordered to reflect His unmatched supremacy in every area of life. But consistent exposure is key. Week after week, we need that watershed moment where we are admonished to look long and hard at Jesus as His glory lands upon us with ever-increasing obviousness.
Being exposed to God’s glory wows us back into a state of Spiritual sobriety. And the Lord’s Day is a weekly jolt that reawakens us and invites us to climb God’s holy mountain so we can stand face to face with Him again. As He meets with us there, He is forming us to reflect His glory. So if we are going to make a difference in our beauty-malnourished culture, we must look compulsively to Christ and see Him for all He’s worth. He never thinks it’s rude to stare. So let’s come to church this Sunday with our eyes fixed on Him, asking to see more of His glory.
Liturgy for Sunday, June 07, 2015
Call to Worship:
Oh sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things! His right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him. The LORD has made known his salvation; he has revealed his righteousness in the sight of the nations. He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness to the house of Israel. All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God. (Psalm 98:1-3)
Confession & Assurance:
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:4-9)
Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all. (2 Thessalonians 3:16)
You can also follow the Spotify playlist for this Sunday.