Glory Exchange

Blue_angels I had the privilege of witnessing power and supersonic speed up close this past weekend as we had "front row" seats to a local air show to see the Blue Angels perform mind numbing feats of aerodynamic greatness!  I was literally shaken to my core as these beautiful blue jets screamed past my face followed by a delayed ear-crunching roar!  There was one time in particular when one of the jets stealthily
flew over my head throwing my body into an involuntary "curly shuffle"
to the amusement of family and friends! This was indeed the closest I
had ever stood to such imposing physical energy. I was not only seeing and hearing this awesome display, I was
feeling it a spiritual way!


It was only later when I began to ponder my own feelings of
astonishment that a self
examining question arose.  Why am I amazed with these 6 Boeing F/A-18
Hornet Jets? Why does their death-teasing 700 mph maneuvers
seemingly awaken a part of my soul? Is it because of the ingenuity of
the men who engineered these marvelous machines?  Is it due to the
skill and expertise of the pilots who push the limits and operate them
in unified precision?  I concluded that while the
visible evidence precipitates an engagement of the senses, there is an
invisible reality that serves as the fountainhead of endless
affections;  An inate urge to deeply admire what is perceived as glorious. The same can be said of our enjoyment as we gaze upon the
glories of snow capped mountains, vast canyons, and
massive star fields.  Ironically, the same joy equally enthralls as
we're hypnotized by the melodic coos of newborns.  Simply stated, glory is the stimulus for worship.

I suspect much of the crowd this weekend walked
away attributing glory to great engineering, masterful
piloting or great human ingenuity. Still, I wonder how many
considered the natural laws in place that inspired
men to build flying machines in the first place? I wonder how many
marveled at the ingenuity of a Creator who designed the universe in such
a way that finite beings would constantly strive to tame it's inherent dangers? 
Would these flying machine amaze us so much if there
was no gravity to defy?  I concluded that while I stood in awe of these
powerful machines, I was even more awe-inspired by the God who created
a universe that begs its inhabitants to challenge its perilous
wonders!   This doesn't imply there is no measure of glory in the
finite for
even a reflection of glory is glorious in itself. 


But what happens when these affections focus on the reflection?  If the plane crashes, if the mountain crumbles, and if the baby
dies, then the affections for these beauties either die with them or
continue in postmortem pursuit.  This is because affections appropriate to the infinite were never meant to terminate in the finite. Instead, the finite is designed purposefully as a sheer reflection of
what is infinitely glorious!  It would be absurd if not tragic to prefer
a photograph of a jet to a seat near the runway.  To trade in the magnificent depths and dimensions of 12 ton
jets flying over you for a mere 2D gaze would be a self-inflicted
swindle of a deal!  Likewise, to exchange the glory of God for finite images is both tragic and absurd.

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