In some ways the story of Jesus is like the structure of a symphony.
The classic musical form calls for three distinct sections: the exposition, the development, and the recapitulation.
- The first section introduces the themes;
- the second section develops them and
- the final section restates the themes in altered forms.
In other words the music ends where it began although the themes have been affected by the passage of the music through time. When the moment of recapitulation comes there is a great sense of satisfaction for the players and the listeners—a sense of coming home from a journey.
The Symphony of Grace
In the fullness of time, Jesus abandoned His throne of Glory to come to be our Redeemer and, when the work of Atonement was done, He returned to His rightful place in Glory. His was a glory surrendered, tested, and regained—a grand recapitulation in Glory!
What, exactly, is “Glory?”
In this Lenten season we continue to praise Him, as the Psalmist said, to “give Him the glory due His name.” It is only right that we do this. As the Book of Common Prayer says, “It is altogether fitting and proper that we should praise Him.”
As we praise Jesus, we ascribe glory to Him.
The Hebrew word for glory means weight, meaning, significance, copious splendor. (Strong’s OT:3519) If someone has all of these wonderful (glorious!) things, we cannot add to the “weight” of his/her incumbent worth. What we can do is measure the weight, recognize the significance, embrace the meaning, and express wonder at the splendor we see before us.
This is praise. This is worship.
And what is the measure we must use? Many people use all kinds of worship criteria:
- Artistic quality,
- Doctrinal depth,
- Cultural relevance,
- Creative innovation,
- Traditional fidelity,
- Personal approval and pleasure, or
- Congregational acceptance.
The Psalmist will let none of these standards pass. He demands only one standard—
The Glory Due His Name!
When we judge our devotional acts by our abilities or understandings or even our passions, we inevitably come up short. All of these measuring tools are rooted in us, not it God Himself. We have to set before us a loftier goal—The Glory Due unto His Name!—not how much glory we can give, but how much glory does Jesus deserve. Complete recapitulation is the goal: to contemplate His current regality in the light of the glory He possessed before He made His incredible sojourn into the world He created.
A Higher Standard
When the glory-due-His-name is the standard we use to plan and present our worship, we will always do our best; nothing less is to even be considered. Like Mary’s Alabaster Box, our praise will be the finest we can give, our worship, the best of the best we possess. This is why singers and players rehearse. This is why worship in Spirit and in Truth must stretch every worshiper beyond his/her natural preferences to those of the Lord Jesus. Music becomes the tool for this work of art and only that—never again the work itself.
In His glorious recapitulation, Jesus, like the themes in a symphony, has been changed by the passage of time.
- Before He came to earth there were no scars in His hands and feet.
- There were no welts on his back or puncture wounds in His forehead or in His side.
- He is the One who was slain but who lives again, the sinless One bearing the marks of our sins.
With a vision of the Glory of the Resurrected, recapitulated Jesus, the first followers of Christ turned the world upside down.
Well, it needs turning again, so we must see His glory and be changed!
Psalm 29:1-2 KJV
Give unto the Lord, O ye mighty, give unto the Lord glory and strength. Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.
John 17:24 KJV
Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.
2 Corinthians 3:17-18 NKJV
Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.
Lift up your heads, O you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O you gates; lift them up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is he, this King of glory? The Lord Almighty — he is the King of glory!
Lord Jesus, as I behold Your glory, let Your Holy Spirit alter me—change me—fundamentally at levels too deep for me to reach by myself. I will read Your Word. I will rehearse Your promises. I will deeply reflect on Your story. As I do these things, You have promised to write the Word of God into my heart. As I do what I can do, You will do what only You can do—change me. I will behold Your glory and I will be changed; I will be different at the end of the process than at the beginning. In awe of You, Lord Jesus, Amen.
Song of Praise:
Down From His Glory
Words: William E.B. Clibbon; Music: Traditional O Solo Mio
1. Down from His glory, Ever living story,
My God and Savior came, And Jesus was His Name.
Born in a manger, To His own a stranger,
A Man of sorrows, tears and agony.
O how I love Him! How I adore Him!
My breath, my sunshine, my all in all.
The great Creator became my Savior,
And all God’s fullness dwelleth in Him.
2. What condescension, Bringing us redemption;
That in the dead of night, Not one faint hope in sight,
God, gracious, tender, Laid aside His splendor,
Stooping to woo, to win, to save my soul
3. Without reluctance, Flesh and blood His substance,
He took the form of man, Revealed the hidden plan,
O glorious myst’ry Sacrifice of Calv’ry,
And now I know Thou art the great ‘I Am’
© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved