” That they may behold my glory” – The Prayer of Jesus 


Gifts of the Ascended Christ

 

The greatest desire that Christ expressed in his prayer was that his people might be with him to behold his glory. It is clear that in this prayer the Lord Christ was referring to his own glory and the actual sight of it.

Only a sight of his glory, and nothing else, will truly satisfy God’s people. One of the greatest privileges the believer has, both in this world and for eternity, is to behold the glory of Christ.

Ever since the name of Christ was known on the earth, there has never been such direct opposition to the uniqueness and glory of Christ as the present day. It is the duty of all those who love the Lord Jesus to testify according to their ability to his uniqueness and glory.

I would therefore try to strengthen the faith of true believers by showing that to see the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ by faith is the climax of all Christ’s requests for his disciples in this present world. Here in this life, beholding the glory of the Lord, they are changed into his own likeness by his Spirit (2Cor.3:18). Hereafter, they will be like him for they will see him as he is (1 John 3:2). This knowledge of Christ is the continual life and reward of our souls.

If, therefore we would have a more active faith and a greater love to Christ, giving rest and satisfaction to our souls, we must have a greater desire to see more of his glory in this life. We should not look for anything in heaven other than what we have some experience of (by faith) in this life. If we were fully persuaded of this we would be more often thinking about heavenly things than we usually are.

– John Owen (1684) from The Glory of Christ, the theme of the final year of his life (d.1683).

If Owen found it difficult in England in his day, how much more in our day to keep the greatest gift of all our constant priority. The Advent season is the perfect time to evaluate the year and one’s own choices to judge how well we have resisted all the distractions of the world and kept our eyes on this Leader who is both the Author and Perfecter of our faith.

 

Watch ‘Jesu, Joy of man’s desiring’.

For Brazilians: YouTube honoring Nilson Fanini (1932-2009)  “Verei Jesus como Ele e’ ” e tambem “Para Que vejam a minha gloria” http://youtu.be/3HLhhHNDvxg

Related Post: What difference has looking made?

 

 

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…And Christians in the middle east.

This Christmas we in the West are focused on the East as never before. Our son David is deployed along with hundreds of thousands of Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan. But have we neglected to keep our fellow Christians in those lands in our hearts and in our prayers. For a reminder in Arabic to pray for the world-wide Body of Christ and with great humility, I present this Christmas card on Christmas Day 2009.

Dedicated to the faithful in Christ in Iran.

Third Sunday of Advent.  

(Lectionary readings only)     

While joyous expectation has been a motif in the epistle lesson every week so far, all of this week’s readings include that motif in one way or another. The Latin name of the Sunday, “Gaudete Sunday,” comes from the beginning of the reading from Philippians in this lectionary year — “Rejoice!” This text, and the association of the readings with joy, marks the reason some traditions have marked this Sunday with pink or rose colored paraments, vestments and a candle in the Advent wreath (though that’s a much later tradition) rather than purple or blue.  

Zephaniah 3: 14-20: The prophet leads the singing of a new and almost raucously joyful psalm of thanksgiving. God has delivered the people from exile, will protect them from present and future enemies, and promises to make the name of this people renowned and praised everywhere on earth. That’s something to sing and shout about!

How will you help your congregation experience the “raucous joy” of this reading in worship today? Is reading it enough? Or might you be called to use it as a kind of launching pad for praise? How will you help your congregation “Rejoice and exult with all [their] heart” with this text?

Canticle: Isaiah 12:2-6: One joyous song leads into another. This one is often called “The First Song of Isaiah.” 

Philippians 4:4-7:  Paul reminds the congregation that in and through all challenges that may face as a community, from within or without, they can and should rejoice in Christ who is near and offer prayers and thanksgivings without anxiety. As they do these things, they will experience the peace of God sustaining them.

How does joyous praise help you and your congregation “let go and let God” in prayer and in daily life? What happens when you do this? How will you continue to help your congregation to do that in worship today –in praise, in prayers, and around the Lord’s Table?

Luke 3: 7-18: The people grow in joyous expectation because John announces a way out of “viperhood.” They could practice their lives differently. These new practices could help even those with “problematic” careers begin producing good fruit. The baptism they would receive from John would be the effective pledge of God’s forgiveness as they turned away from their former ways of life. In offering such teaching and baptism, John is clear that he’s not the messiah. There is one to come who baptizes with Spirit and unquenchable fire. 

Where have you seen the clarity of coming judgment help people take bold steps to live differently and so rejoice? How will you help your congregation get ready to experience even these hard words as reasons for rejoicing today?

(comments from www.gbod.org)

Alternate Christmas music series.

Here’s another of my favorite pieces associated with Christmas. It has a simple melody that tends to get into your head as it did mine when I heard it featured in the movie “Empire of the Sun“. My favorite version is from a Christmas album by the Irish Tenors. I don’t have the english words from that album which really carry the message I’m focusing on: The Cosmic event of this present age. (I’ll try to find the words- meanwhile enjoy the beautiful Welsh version by Katherine Jenkins)

Empire of The Sun version (Japanese-Umi Yukaba)

Alternative music great for Advent.

One of the things that has occured to me as I get ready to celebrate the most joyous season of the Christian Year, is that there is some incredible music out there that we may not think of as “Christmas” music but in terms of the uniqueness and finality of the Incarnation is just perfect. Here’s just one example from Michael Card

“You and me we use so very many clumsy words.
The noise of what we often say is not worth being heard.
When the Father’s Wisdom wanted to communicate His love,
He spoke it in one final perfect Word.

He spoke the Incarnation and then so was born the Son.
His final word was Jesus, He needed no other one.
Spoke flesh and blood so He could bleed and make a way Divine.
And so was born the baby who would die to make it mine.

And so the Father’s fondest thought took on flesh and bone.
He spoke the living luminous Word, at once His will was done.
And so the transformation that in man had been unheard
Took place in God the Father as He spoke that final Word.”   (One final Word from the album “Joy in the Journey”)

The song captures the essence of the event and is indeed most fitting for Advent. Michael is a very talented artist not only in writing verse but in the music as well . His songs are laced with Biblical themes and characters such as Mary and Joseph. His well known Immanuel is another song perfect for Advent. These songs for me capture the true spirit of the Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus.

Listen to the title song from JOY in the JOURNEY.