From the Bishop of Plymouth

The Glory of God

I was reading of a famous British company which enjoyed an established position as the UK’s leading manufacturer of drill bits. But slowly the competition increased and a changing market eroded their advantage. In order to stop the decline, they invested huge amounts of cash in new equipment but nothing seemed to work. Finally in desperation they called in a firm of marketing consultants to advise them.

Eventually, after months of research, the consultants reported back: “Your biggest problem is that you’ve made a serious mistake about who you are and what you do. You told us you make drill bits. You don’t. You make holes.” That one insight revolutionised the company’s future. Today they are the world leaders in the application of laser technology to the hole-making industry.

In church life, we too need the reminder that our primary purpose is not to hold services, maintain buildings or even run food banks or hold missions. We are called supremely to give glory to God. We may do so through these activities and many others; but without that greater vision, everything else risks becoming mere activism.

The season of Lent (which starts on 18th February) is a time to renew that vision of God’s glory. Where do we find it? In creation of course, and in humanity, but supremely the glory of God is found in the passion, the death and the resurrection of Jesus, for which Lent has traditionally been a time of preparation.

“The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified,” John’s Gospel records Jesus as saying prior to his arrest and execution.

In his death and resurrection we are given the clearest glimpse of that strange glory. We reflect that glory in our houses, workplaces and communities through lives shaped by the same self-giving sacrifice and the hope of resurrection. Lent invites us to rediscover our true calling.

+Nick

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