Have you ever been grabbed by a thought that takes hold of your mental steering wheel and crashes your initial, superficial understanding of an idea?
Please read the next line sitting down and buckled into a safe chair, while you brace for impact.
· A man is the image and glory of God (1 Corinthians 11:7).
Did an airbag go off when you crashed into the concept of glory?
“Uh….nope.” you probably answered.
Maybe the concept of glory doesn’t buzz and zing because you’ve never considered glory as deep beauty.
Thomas Aquinas, the brilliant 13th century theologian said that something is beautiful if it consists of three things: Wholeness, harmony and radiance.
Before we crack open these three concepts, we have to ask, “What does this have to do with Biblical manhood?”
I just finished meeting with a bunch of dads and their sons where we discussed five Scriptural aspects of manhood.
We travelled through the first four (see the last four blog posts for specifics) and got fired-up about men being
· Lords: Initiators and rulers of a specific slice of creation, under the ultimate Lordship of Jesus.
· Husbandmen: Not just starters, but caretakers and cultivators of the things we initiate.
· Saviors: Guys who take sacrificial responsibility, where we are willing to bleed for those whom we love.
· Sages: Guys who aim for the best goal with the best method at the best time, depending on God’s best wisdom.
Glory is the final and crowning aspect of manhood because God clearly reveals that “a man is the glory of God” (1 Cor 11:7).
The Hebrews used the word glory when they saw something deeply beautiful.
As we have seen, beauty involves wholeness, harmony and radiance.
· Let’s consider what each of these mean and how they relate to manhood.
First, something is beautiful when it is whole.
Whole means nothing is missing.
· A new truck is not missing a tailgate or an engine.
Wholeness also means nothing is added that does not need to be there.
· No one looks at the Mona Lisa and says “that lady needs a mustache.” The picture is complete.
A man is to image or reflect the deep beauty of God by his wholeness.
What might that look like?
When a man does a job, does he cut corners and leave important things out?
When a man speaks to a friend or a woman does he add things that really don’t need to be added?
I speak a lot, to a lot of people, and fail to say things I should of said (I leave things out) while usually saying more than should have been said.
This is not a good reflection of the glory of God.
But I am in Christ.
He is the very glory of God. 2 Corinthians 4:6 expresses, “God.. has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”
Second, something is beautiful when it expresses harmony.
Harmony is all about all of the parts relating to each other in the right way.
Think of a rock band playing a song. If three singers decide to sing their parts in a way that don’t complement each other, you would have unpleasant noise.
When three singers decide to submit to each other, as they focus on the beauty of the song by singing in harmony, we experience a sense of joy and internal pleasure.
Men, we reflect the glorious harmony of God when we remember that God is a Trinity or a harmonious community.
A key reason I joined the Presbyterian expression of the family of God is because men lead side by side in submissive harmony rather than hierarchically.
Real manhood submits and brings out the best in the other guys to the glory of God.
Third, deep beauty consists of radiance.
Just think of God showing up as a radiant cloud, a burning bush, or a transfigured Jesus.
Beautiful things glow and sparkle and dazzle.
· This is why the word beauty is derived from the Greek word kalen (to call).
When we see a beautiful woman or hear a beautiful song or see a beautiful Jesus, we feel like the beauty is calling out to us.
Beauty radiates towards our senses and then magnetically pulls us toward its source.
And a man is the deep beauty or glory of God.
When people look at you as a man, do they see radiance and luminous energy in your work, words and ways?
God gifted me with the glory of three sons.
Even though I am dull and sunless in many ways, I am now in the brilliance of Christ.
He gave up his glory so that I could enter into his glory.
His willingness to embrace anti-glory expresses the fullness of his glory.
My hope is that my sons, along with all men, will embrace our roles as lords, husbandmen, saviors, sages and glory-reflectors of Jesus.
And ladies, thanks for patiently allowing me the time to address the glory of men over these last five posts.
Want to hear something glorious? A woman is called the glory of man (1 Corinthians 11:7)…and Jesus is the glory of God.
And that is why a woman is truly the quintessence of beauty.
For the beauty of Christ,
Metro North Church