The Weight of Glory
The title for this essay is taken from one of the most encouraging verses in Scripture, 2 Cor. 4:17:
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more and exceeding and eternal weight of glory.
As we begin another year of music ministry, this verse is useful for reflection and encouragement. At one level, the verse reflects the encouraging truth that no matter how great our difficulties, they are only a “light affliction” when viewed in the context of the future glory awaiting those who are “in Christ”.
As described in the preceding verses of 2 Cor. 4, difficulties (afflictions) are not optional for the true believer. St. Paul believed that weakness and difficulty were not only important to his ministry, but absolutely essential. He says that our bodies, that is, our “earthen vessels”, must be hardened by fire if they are to see the light of eternity. (See verses 7-10) If fact, in 2 Cor. 12:9, 10, he affirms that his suffering was the badge of his loyalty to Christ and the source of his power! Thus, from a human perspective, afflictions (or “intense pressure”) are bad. But from an eternal view, they are “light afflictions”, lasting only a brief moment and providing a great benefit.
But the verse can also be viewed from the standpoint of the phrase “weight of glory”. In biblical times, this word meant a “very heavy mass” burden. In this case, the weight is good – it is a continual reminder of the incredible glory that awaits the Christian. Young or old, all Christians have within them this wonderful and weighty reminder of God’s incredible glory!
Perhaps nothing can remind us more of this fact than music. Of course for most people music is a means of entertainment or amusement. But for the Christian – and the choir – it is a significant reminder of what we have within us. Of all the acts of worship, music is a great way to look beyond the physical and see the spiritual – beyond the present to the future. Music is rarely viewed in this way. But it is our responsibility, week by week, to let our music reflect the “weight of glory”. May God’s glory be exemplified in our music – and our actions. To God be the Glory!
One of the great descriptions for a Christian is “a Kingdom Person.” That means, of course, that they are continually aware of whose they are, and where they’re going.
Each week, we recite the wonderful words of “the Lord’s Prayer.” Contained in the prayer is: “Thy Kingdom come” (Matthew 6:10)
As we say these words, it’s easy to forget the “real” majesty and glory reflected in those three short words, “Thy Kingdom come.” While at the moment, God’s kingdom is a spiritual one; someday it will be a literal kingdom reflecting the incredible glory and majesty of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
Jesus in Luke 17:21 says: “The Kingdom of God is within you.”
Jesus was talking to his disciples, reminding them that while they are walking this earth, it is the condition of their hearts (minds) that must reflect God’s kingdom.
As we mentioned last week, all Christians carry within them the “weight of glory”. That is, we are continually reminded that someday all wrongs will be made right and that the reality of His glorious, eternal presence will be just that – real!
What a great inheritance! Therefore we must never lose sight of the following essentials:
* The power and glory that awaits those who are “in Christ.” His glory will be incredible – and real!
* Because we carry within us “the Kingdom of God” our lives and our worship must be lived in the light of God’s glory and Majesty.
* Christians must continually be “heavenly-minded”, that is, they must “fix their eyes on Jesus who is now sitting at the right hand of the Father, encouraging and interceding for his chosen ones.
* As musicians, our music must also be “Heaven focused.” As we sing and rehearse, our minds – and our music! – must be focused on our eternal destination – Heaven, the place where our great Savior, Jesus Christ dwells – and someday our eternal home.
As we begin this new season, let us renew our efforts to sing the best music with the best technique that we can accomplish. Let God’s glory live in us right now!
As musicians, especially Christian musicians, this is a most important observation – and admonition – for all of us in the choir.
Over the last 120 years or so, our musical world has been totally turned upside down. Since the beginning of the Christian Church, (see Ralph Martin’s book: Worship in the Early Church) music has existed for praise and edification – that is, enhancing the work of “equipping the saints”.
With the advent of the “Gospel Song” and recordings” toward the end of the 19th Century, the role of music began to shift from worship to evangelism. Music was transformed from a ‘heavenly’ point of reference to an ‘earthbound’ orientation, designed to bring enthusiasm and energy – and most of all, people – to evangelistic services.
Another way of looking at it is that the music of the church became more secularized as the popular nature of music was emphasized. Thus, the spiritual or ‘heavenly’ aspect of music was de-emphasized and began to be viewed in a more negative light. The motive for this change was understandable, but the consequences were (and continue to be) disastrous for the church.
For most of the history of the church, Scripture’s emphasis on the mind has produced music that is serious and reflective. But, because of the musical “sea change” noted above, the mind, or intellect, has been put on the back burner, and music’s unabashed appeal to “emotion” has grown exponentially.
Now, it’s important to remember that these changes were not consciously planned or articulated. But, once the emotional aspects of music were emphasized, it was difficult to stop the power of “raw emotional appeal.”
Glory. It’s one of the most oft words used in the Bible. And as we’ve discussed over the past few weeks, it’s a “default” for all those who are “in Christ.”
As musicians, it’s imperative that we understand the incredible “glory” within us. Because we are in Christ, the power of His glory, via His Spirit, is the reason and strength for our Sunday music ministry.
In the book of Ephesians, for example, the phrase “in Christ” is mentioned over 40 times. The significance, then, for each choir member is in his/her identity in Christ. Each blood-bought member is”
A child born of God
A divine masterpiece
A child of light
A citizen of heaven Because we are “in Christ”, we have this incredible perspective: You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, that you may proclaim the excellences of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light, for once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.1 Peter 2:9,10
How great is the love which the father has lavished on us, that we should be called the children of God!1 John 3:1,2
We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:10
Wow! What a fantastic privilege – and opportunity. And to think that someday, we will all have “perfect” voices to praise and glorify our Lord.
But, remember, the power and glory of God is in us, right now. As we minister on Sunday mornings, we must use this incredible power in our songs of praise and worship.
Roman 8:17 says that Christians are “joint heirs” with Christ – that means that we share in His glory and power.
Therefore, our music must reflect our position “in Christ”; that is, we are alive with Him and we have been “raised…up together and made [to] sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”
As we minister this Sunday, may our position “in Christ” be evident to all who hear us sing. For truly we sing,
“To God alone be the glory.”
The above article, “The Weight of Glory” was written by Paul Lusher. The article was excerpted from www.songsandhyms.org web site. June 2016.
The material is copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.
This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes, “Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.”