Not only then has each man his individual relation to God, but each man has his peculiar relation to God…In every man there is a loneliness, an inner chamber of peculiar life into which God only can enter…From this it follows that there is a chamber also – (O God, humble and accept my speech) – a chamber in God himself, into which none can enter but the one, the individual, the peculiar man, - out of which chamber that man has to bring revelation and strength for his brethren. This is that for which he was made – to reveal the secret things of the Father.Relative worth is not only unknown – to the children of the kingdom it is unknowable.
While MacDonald may be pushing the envelope for some of us, his point is that each of us is called, in Christ, to reflect a facet of Christ to our brothers and sisters. We are a body with many members, a multitude which no man can number, and the Infinite – Personal God, in Christ, desires to display His splendor through His people, individually, peculiarly, and corporately.
This ties back to an earlier post about friendship and co-inherence, C.S. Lewis, Charles Williams, Dorothy L. Sayers, and Dante. We reflect God’s glory and beauty to others and God places special people in our lives so that we may behold His glory and beauty through them. It is not for us to be conscious of the glory and beauty in ourselves – that would be toxic, but it is for us to seek God’s glory and beauty in others.In Lewis’s essay, The Weight of Glory, he writes:
It may be possible for each to think too much of his own potential glory hereafter; it is hardly possible for him to think too often or too deeply about that of his neighbor…It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship…There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal…Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses. If he is your Christian neighbor, he is holy in almost the same way, for in him also Christ vere latitat – the glorifier and the glorified, Glory Himself is truly hidden.
Life in the Body of Christ is sacramental, the koinonia of the Body of Christ is the sharing of the life of Christ, we are one bread (1Cor. 10:16), sharing one Life. When we profane and desecrate a relationship in Christ, we bring that which is unclean into the Temple. MacDonald, Lewis, Williams, Sayers, and Dante give me much to ponder about relationships. I know I have failed to appreciate others, failed to honor others, failed to protect others – I hope that our merciful God will teach me to behold HIs beauty in others and to seek their glory and honor in Christ above my own.