We beheld his glory, full of…
John suggests that his glory had content. The glory was more than an existential experience. It was touchable and touchable in an observable way. So time to look up the Greek text and come up with a good translation? How about:
His glory was full of grey – and black and white…
Not really suggesting that is the translation, and I do not want to cheapen the word ‘grace’, so tentatively am going to run with ‘grey’ to make it very concrete. If we use the word ‘grace’ it can be religionised away and truth – well we all know what that is. In a recent post I suggested that we are better to be solution focused rather than answer focused and this is a kind of follow on. So forgive me for the translation!
The classic response of Jesus to the woman caught in adultery: ‘I do not condemn you’ shows a measure of greyness. Grey / grace was the solution to the situation that was a bad one from the start. The deck was stacked against the woman (where was the man?). There was probably the prevailing belief that the woman was the seductress and so what else was the man meant to do. That belief skews any judgement, even a judgement based on biblical texts. We face situations that should never have occurred, but we face them because they started out wrong. Our true judgement does not get us too far with many of those situations. The wealthy person walking past the person sitting on the street and refusing to part with a few coins as they will only use it to buy booze or drugs… yes we can walk past and then at the weekend go and buy some booze, and now even more sadly drugs as well. The black and white judgement against the ‘sinner’ just does not always cut it as there are so many other factors.
Tighten legislation against abortion might well be necessary, but when there is such a connection between abortions and social deprivation, we can tick the box of ‘right move’ but not go deep enough. Grey… not pretty.
I like the word ‘grace’, a nice theological category but grey – I just don’t like it. Yet so many situations that God comes to he comes into the situation that was started wrong, and the solution is sometimes a grey. He walked among us, he did not set out rules from a position away from us. He touched what was wrong, and in touching it solutions, ways forward were manifest. Glory is not to be pushed simply into the transcendent realm of out there and up there somewhere. Maybe though we think that is the only realm where glory is found because we are not able to allow it to manifest among us. He (Jesus) walked and we saw glory… we saw again and again a greyness to those on the margins. They did not face a strong ‘repentance’ call, but words of hope. Grey is not the colour of religion!
Grey, strangely a mixture of black and white. His glory full of grey, but stick with it and we will see that he is not pushing ‘anything goes’ as a response. In the midst of it all there was a black and white (truth). How anyone can hold that together is a mystery, and whenever it takes place, for sure, we see ‘glory’.
Show us your glory is a great cry. Show your glory through me is a most challenging pathway. Truth / black and white will be involved I am sure, but right at the forefront, the leading edge will be grey.