Glory Around a Table
Where is God glorified most in the life of our church? I would argue that he is often most glorified in Community Groups. To explain, I quote John Piper, on the “diverse excellencies” of Jesus:
“we admire him for his glory, but even more because his glory is mingled with humility;
• we admire him for his transcendence, but even more because his transcendence is accompanied by condescension;
• we admire him for his uncompromising justice, but even more because it is tempered with mercy;
• we admire him for his majesty, but even more because it is a majesty in meekness;
• we admire him because of his equality with God, but even more because as God’s equal he nevertheless has a deep reverence for God;
• we admire him because of how worthy he was of all good, but even more because this was accompanied by an amazing patience to suffer evil;
• we admire him because of his sovereign dominion over the world, but even more because this dominion was clothed with a spirit of obedience and submission;
• we love the way he stumped the proud scribes with his wisdom, and we love it even more because he could be simple enough to like children and spend time with them;
• and we admire him because he could still the storm, but even more because he refused to use that power to strike the Samaritans with lightning (Luke 9:54-55) and he refused to use it to get himself down from the cross.”
These “diverse excellencies” show up, as we gather everyone from a geographic area - all ages, social strata and political leanings. His complex character is revealed in our gathered diversity. Like a reverse prism, we each reflect some color of his character, which combine together to form shafts of light of his glory.
How? The spiritually advanced are friends with the spiritually immature; we treat each other right, and we’re merciful when we don’t; we treat each other as equals, while also showing reverence to each other as made in the image of God; we rejoice in the good each one experiences, and suffer their evils alongside them. In this gathering, the world’s successful count the world’s failures as more important. We talk about the loftiest truths, and play on the floor with each other’s kids. We pray together for his power, and we revel together in what he’s already done, in crucifixion, resurrection and giving us His Spirit.
Just a simple gathering. But look again - it’s shot through with glory.