So Why Glorious Ruin?
Amy and I first heard the phrase ‘Glorious Ruin(s)’ during a YWAM DTS in Budapest lecture on the character of God with Bonny Thiesen. It was more of a side note in the weeks teaching but it made me stop and think. As I thought deeper about how I see and understand the world I realised that the phrase ‘Glorious Ruin’ actually makes a lot of sense! This was further explored in classes with Don Stephens on Kingdom, Worldview and Glory.
The World is a Glorious Ruin!
There is so much beauty in this world but there is also a lot of brokenness.
The Ruin or the Brokenness
There is so much brokenness in the world and we don’t need anyone to persuade us of this fact. There are so many hurting and broken people, so many disasters and hatred, that we find ourselves asking ‘What is wrong with the world?’ The ruin is seen everyday in the news and this question is constantly reflected through the media. In song lyrics and movies.
Ruins represent something greater, because they point to a time when they were whole. I believe that you can see God’s glory, beauty and love through His entire creation if you look beyond the ruin and see how it was originally intended to be! Before the Fall of humankind, God made this earth to be whole, healthy, perfect reflections of His character!
What is Glory? The word ‘Glory’ can be used in many different ways as renown, magnificence , beautiful etc… I have always read and sung about the glory of God, but I never really thought about what it means. The word was used a lot in churches as I was growing up and I don’t really remember having any teaching on the the subject or a full understanding of this popular word. Don brought some amazing teaching on Glory and his definition is that glory is the visible reflection of God’s invisible character. So God’s invisible fingerprint is on all of His creation. We don’t see God, but He makes himself visible all the time. Gods glory can be seen, through nature, in people, stories, music, films, media, creativity, relationships and a lot more.
What is the Purpose of Life? Having this understanding of Glory really opens up our understanding to our purpose in life. Even the children ponder this in the film ‘Hugo’ ‘Everything has a purpose, clocks tell the time and trains take you places’… Everything was created with a purpose!
Think of a chair, think of a honey bee, think of a laptop. They have all been created with a purpose in mind. It is the same with You and I. We are created with a purpose and Isaiah 43:6b-7 shows us this:
“Bring My sons from afar And My daughters from the ends of the earth, everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”
God created us for His Glory! Roman 11:36 shows us this as well:
“For everything comes from Him and exists by His power and is intended for His glory. All glory to him forever! Amen.”
God created us to be in relationship as it is with the trinity. He created us for His joy and his delight. He created us to bring glory to Him. This is why we love glorious things. We enjoy nature that has been unspoiled by pollution, we love stories that end ‘happily ever after’, we can’t get enough of music that touches the soul and moves us deeply. We find joy and hope in stories of human creativity and ingenuity because they reflect something of beauty! Our hearts hunger for this, and yet we know all is not well with the world!
The sound of the crickets slowed down and synced (not synthesizer)
Johann Strauss II – The Blue Danube Waltz Music to Inspire the Soul
The most perfect and whole expression we have of God’s glory is Jesus Himself. He is the exact representation of God. Through His life, how He interacted with people, the way he interacted with the world around him and how he served others, even in His death. He brought glory to the Father in absolutely everything He did!
The Kingdom of God!
With this understanding of Glory, the Kingdom of God takes on a whole new light. It touches every part of life, from purpose and design, to community, science, music, art, education, justice, government, hope and wholeness. Nothing is left out, because Everything Matters to God! In fact, without all of these things working together, life would be pretty miserable!
The Kingdom is a story within itself, and we all have a part in God’s redeeming story. It is the true story of creation, sin, pain, God incarnate coming to earth and making the sacrifice for sin, redemption, hope and eternity! It is a battle between good and evil. We know that good will prevail in the end, that Jesus has already won the victory over sin and death! That He will return and that there will be a happily ever after that truly will last forever for those who believe and put their hope in Him! For now we just see tiny glimpses of glory, piercing through this darkened world, but one day the whole earth will once again be filled with the knowledge of God and flooded with His presence and light! This is the hope we have, and this is the dream of God’s heart, for the renewal of All things!
Bible verses can be unpacked later… This is not a heavy theological blog, but more of a broad picture to breath a fresh way of looking at the truth as GOOD NEWS worthy of rejoicing about!