A Weight of Glory

“Whenever he looked straight at them they appeared to be rushing towards him with enormous speed: whenever his eyes took in their surroundings her realized that they were stationary. This may have been due in part to the fact that their long and sparkling hair stood out straight behind them as if in a great wind. But if there were a wind it was not made of air, for no petal of the flowers was shaken. They were not standing quite vertically in relation to the floor of the valley: but to Ransom it appeared (as it had appeared to me on Earth when I saw one) that the eldils were vertical. It was the valley—it was the whole world of Perelandra—which was aslant. He remembered the words of Oyarsa long ago in Mars, ‘I am not here in the same way you are here.’ It was borne in upon him that the creatures were really moving, though not moving in relation to him. The planet which inevitably seemed to him while he was in it an unmoving world—the world, in fact—was to them a thing moving through the heavens” (C. S. Lewis, Perelandra, 170).

“Then I looked, and behold, a whirlwind was coming out of the north, a great cloud with raging fire engulfing itself; and brightness was all around it and radiating out of its midst like the color of amber, out of the midst of the fire. Also from within it came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance: they had the likeness of a man. Each one had four faces, and each one had four wings. Their legs were straight, and the soles of their feet were like the soles of calves’ feet. They sparkled like the color of burnished bronze. The hands of a man were under their wings on their four sides; and each of the four had faces and wings. Their wings touched one another. The creatures did not turn when they went, but each one went straight forward. . . . And each one went straight forward; they went wherever the spirit wanted to go, and they did not turn when they went. . . . And the living creatures ran back and forth, in appearance like a flash of lightning” (Ezekiel 1: 4-9, 12, 14).

There are these moments in the Bible when for a second all creation seems to tilt in response to an entirely other gravitational pull. I think C. S. Lewis tried to describe this feeling in his science fiction novels, dealing with the eldils, which roughly correspond to angels. I think he was going off of Ezekiel 1, where Ezekiel was clearly dealing with something that responded to no rule of this world. And I think it happens over and over again in the gospels, where Jesus is just walking around being Jesus and these enormous things keep happening. A couple of moments strike me particularly.

In Matthew, Mark, and John, after Jesus feeds the five thousand (which is another post in itself), He sends His disciples into a boat to go across the Sea of Galilee while He dismisses the crowds. He goes up a mountain to pray, while they row across the sea. In the middle of the night (really, early morning), they are having a very difficult time of it. They are rowing and rowing, and the wind is against them, and they aren’t getting anywhere. Then suddenly they look up in the middle of all this, and they see, faintly, a man walking toward them on the waves. I try to imagine what this must have looked like—the moon must have been out; I’m sure it shone down on Him and made Him look utterly ethereal and strange. In fact, in Matthew and Mark, the disciples cry out for fear, because they think whatever is coming toward them is a phantasm. Jesus, for a moment, looks totally alien. A different measure of gravity has exerted its pressure on all of creation for just a moment, and all existence is aslant. Then a voice descends, quietly, cutting straight through the wind: “I AM. Do not be afraid.” The wind falls silent, He climbs into the boat, and suddenly they are ashore. The beauty here is that Jesus looks so alien, but He is still Jesus. They are just seeing a facet to Him that they have never seen before. God has facets; some parts of His personality seem foreign to us, but His purpose, His person, and His relation to us have not changed a whit. He is trusting us with something difficult for us to grasp.

Another moment hit me about a week ago. I was in John 9, where Jesus heals the man born blind. Jesus spits on the ground, makes some mud, and smears it on the guy’s eyes (which must have been a really strange thing to happen when he couldn’t see it coming, if you think about it). He tells him to go wash it off in the pool of Siloam. John 9:7b says, “He went therefore and washed, and came seeing.” John states it so plainly, but this is another point at which all creation tilts on another axis for a second. Power has gone out. A different law has exerted itself, just for a moment. Everything is different.

When I read these passages, I have this sound in the back of my head, and this feeling of bending. It’s a sound somewhere between horns and the groaning of a tree bending under tremendous pressure. It’s the sound of a massive horn played at incredible distance by lungs that have no need to draw breath (whooooooouuuuuummmmmmmmmm--this, but deeper and incredibly longer).  It’s the feeling of a sea suspended against the law of gravity, of a river heaped up in a pile, of a cloud rising out of the sea and dashing itself across a parched land in the space of a few minutes. It is glory. And it is everywhere Jesus walked. It is in the blind who see, the lame who walk, the sick who are made well, the possessed set free, the dead made alive. It is on the mountain when the brightness shone out of Him like lightning as for a moment He revealed His own light.

Glory. Chabod. Weight. Gravity.

Oh Lord, tilt me to this axis!

  •  My talk on Monday night went really well. I was very nervous for pretty much the whole week before I spoke, but we got together before the meeting and prayed, and lots of people prayed for me. It was tremendously encouraging.
  • God may open up a couple more doors through this group. It is neat to see Him do things and make me a part of this community.
 Prayer Requests
  • Please pray for divine appointments with women.
  • Pray for eyes to see where God's working. Pray that He'll surprise me. Our Father is never boring.

Thanks again for praying!

P.S. Check out 2 Corinthians 4:17 in light of all that. Do you hear the horns in your head?

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