THE SECOND SUNDAY OF ADVENT
5Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken it.
My heart thrills each Advent when I dust off the CD and begin listening to Handel’s grand oratorio, Messiah. There is something about singing these words from Isaiah that makes me choke up each time – the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together! Isn’t it thrilling to ponder and to sing that one day God will reveal his glory to all people! Everyone will see and revel in the wonder of who our God is!
The “glory of the Lord,” is the majestic theme that runs throughout scripture and describes God’s presence with his people and acting on our behalf. As God goes about his work of bringing salvation for his people he is revealing his glory. Earlier in his prophecy Isaiah was granted to see that “the whole earth is full of the glory of God” (Isaiah 6:3). Every day we are immersed in the glory of God’s presence if we only had eyes to see!
But it is the Gospel of John that reveals that the full blaze of God’s glory shines forth undiminished in Christ Jesus. The same Apostle John who had walked with Jesus, heard his words, seen his miracles, and been with him in his death and his resurrection, says of Jesus, “we have seen God’s glory, the glory the only begotten Son, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). Here in the God-Man, Christ Jesus, is the full manifestation of the glory of God. Here In Jesus Christ we see the glory of God- with-us, acting for our salvation.
A word that describes God’s glory shining through, is the Greek word, diaphany. Perhaps you notice that the word diaphany resembles the word epiphany. The words are closely related. An epiphany is when God reveals his glory directly to us; a diaphany is God revealing his glory through; through a person, through an event, through a instrument of his creation.
There is a spiritual practice that can add to our Advent peace and wonder as we begin to daily look for diaphany, to look for God’s presence shining through each day. Perhaps you can think of a time when God’s glory was shining through a sunrise, shining through the words of a hymn, through an answered prayer, or through the kindness of a friend. In moments such as these the glory of God shines through to us and lights up our lives.
The poet, Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote of our need to be alert for God’s glory shining through to us:
Earth’s crammed with heaven
And every common bush afire with God;
But only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round and pick blackberries.
The early Celtic Christians believed that there is a thin veil separating heaven from earth and that there are places in the veil so thin that God’s glory shines all the way through. The Celtic Christians called these places in the veil, the “Thin Places.” The “Thin Places” are those moments of diaphany when God’s glory shines through the ordinariness of daily life.
As we begin the second week of Advent we are going to begin the daily spiritual practice of diaphany, or watching for God’s glory shining through to us. To do this daily practice we will:
1. Begin each day with a prayer asking God to shine his glory through to us in our day.
2. Throughout the day we will have our eyes and hearts open to look for God’s glory manifested through:
- Answer to prayer
• Evidence of his creative power and wisdom
• Evidence of his love and care for us
• His help to do his work in the world
3. At the end of the day we will take a few moments to be still and to reflect back on our day to call to mind the moment(s) when God’s glory shone through to us.
4. Offer up a brief prayer thanking God for his presence with us throughout the day and night.
Read, Reflect, Respond, and Rest with today’s scripture text,
Isaiah 40:5, and devotional.
Today’s Moments of Diaphany (#2 above)