Reproclaiming the Everlasting Gospel
Truly, truly, I say to you, the hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the son of God, and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the son also to have life in himself and he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the son of man. Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment. I can do nothing on my own authority; as I hear, I judge; and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me…And the Father who sent me has born witness to me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen; and you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe him whom he has sent. You search the scriptures because you think in them you have eternal life; and it is they who bear witness to me…How can you believe, who receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?...If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote of me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words? (Selected verses from John5:25-47)
The glory which man seeks and receives from other men obscures his vision and darkens his understanding. This glory has its roots in the power of man, building the kingdoms of man, and thus receiving the adulation and grudging respect of other kingdom-builders. The life expectancy of this glory is short. It lasts only until some other kingdom-builder topples mine. And down it will come for the same reason that dictates that the first liar never has a chance.
But there is a glory that properly belongs to man, a glory which we are to seek after and to obtain, a glory which the Father sent the son to bring back to us. That glory is contained in the words, "And thus man became a living being." There can be no bringing glory to God, no advancing his kingdom, no showing forth his power that does not stem from being made alive by hearing the voice of the son, the prophet like Moses. The power of Life; enduring, unending Life is beyond all the powers of earth combined. To get there, you must pass the angel with the flaming sword who guards the tree of life. To pass that angel, you must know the shaking of heaven and earth till all the earthy be removed. You must stand in the light that shows up all that is of death and evil within. You must endure the fire that burns away all our impurity. You must come to the hammer that beats down all that is of the serpent and that breaks up our hearts of stone.
When we can truly say, "Yours is the kingdom (not mine); Yours is the glory (not mine); Your power only (not mine) can accomplish this," then we can partake of that glory of life. Then we can believe. Thus we are brought around again to the beginning where we breathe, "Our Father, our begetter into life, hallowed be your name…"
*Note: This is omitted from some ancient manuscripts and from many modern translations. By including it here, I am not making an argument one way or the other for its authenticity as part of the original text. It continues in the same vein as the preceding part of the prayer and is part of the experience of generations of people who have known and loved this portion of scripture. It surprised me, for as I was writing this portion I saw how this ending brought us around again to the beginning.
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