Tag Archives: glory

Close Encounter

When it comes to alien space creatures landing on earth, Steven Spielberg does it the best.  Compared to the jittery, puppet-like, bubble-eyed “aliens” in the sci-fi films of my youth, lurching about in with ray guns and saying “Greetings, Earth people,” Spielberg knocks it out of the park.  Go YouTubing and check out the end of “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.”  The response of the clueless government officials and scientific experts (with their skinny black ties and pocket protectors) is hilarious.  In contrast, Richard Dreyfuss and the little kid are swept up in a rapturous sense of amazement and awe.  Spielberg makes us want to be there, and gives us the sense that we would “get it,” we would not be blinded by the computers and oscilloscopes.  We’d be like the little kid, gazing in wonder and awe but taking it in with openness and acceptance.

But Spielberg doesn’t know the half of it.  The scenes he has imagined will look stilted and silly compared to the glorious, mind-blowing return of Christ!

“For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done.” (Matthew 16:27)

Try to imagine what “His Father’s glory” means.  “The Father” is the One Who created the blaze of a supernova, the brilliance of a desert sunset, and the sparkle in a drop of dew.  When His “glory” is revealed, it’s going to be astonishing.  Jesus gave a brief preview to a few of His disciples (see: Matthew 16:28 – 17:9) and it terrified them.  Talk about “close encounters…”

But as powerful as that will be, you don’t need to be terrified by what Jesus said next: “…and then He will reward each person according to what he has done.”  Jesus wasn’t saying He will get out the heavenly yardstick to see if you measure up, to see if you have done enough.  The words “what he has done” literally mean your “practice,” the essence and sum of your life as a whole.

But the idea of being judged by what we have done caused the people to ask Jesus,

“…“What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”” (John 6:28b-29)

When Jesus returns in His Father’s glory and with angels, He will reward those whose life and practice were marked by a wholehearted belief in Him.  He will welcome them into His eternal kingdom.  And what will that be like?  Spielberg, himself, couldn’t imagine it.  But when that day comes, you will want to be there.  Some will miss it, blinded by their religious presuppositions.  But if you put your faith in Jesus, you will be one of those who “get it.”

Quotes: The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

Oh My God!!!

“Papa, wake up!  You have to see this!”

I fought my way out of a dream and gradually put the world back together.  We were in a small cabin on the northern shores of Lake Michigan.  The last few embers of the evening’s fire were winking in the fireplace.  Must have been after midnight.  My daughter pulled at my sleeve and whispered, “Get Mom and come down to the lake, quickly!”

We stumbled down the darkened steps, gripping the handrail by the path and emerged out onto the rocky beach.  Stretched out above us were vast curtains of emerald green, flashing brightly and undulating as though moved by an unseen, powerful hand.  The stars were so vivid they glittered on the surface of the lake and yet they paled behind this spectacular display of Northern Lights.  My heart ached as I tried to absorb such incredible beauty.  It was so grand, so beyond explanation or description.  We hugged ourselves against the chill breeze and gaped, spellbound.  Just that day we had reveled in our mighty plans – swimming, sailing, hiking, cooking.  Now we knew we were impossibly small and powerless, irrelevant.

Maybe you remember the first time you saw pictures from the Hubble telescope of the vast expanses of space, the purplish clouds of stuff that turn out to be uncountable galaxies, each one of which would dwarf our Milky Way.  If you have never seen these, click this: http://hubblesite.org/gallery/album/galaxy/magellanic_cloud/pr2006055a/large_web/

Try to imagine how much bigger the universe is than the small slice of it you are seeing.  If our solar system was superimposed on that picture it would only be a tiny speck.  Stand on a midnight shore and look up into that picture.  Let your heart be still and stretch your imagination.  Try to “see” that deep, that far.

Now, read this:

Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood since the earth was founded? He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in.
Isaiah 40:21-22