The Subtlety of Glory: Part 1


The first element: a window. It is dark. The faint scent of cold coffee belonging to the elderly lady beside me hangs in the air. My legs are stiff and restless. I listen to the roaring hum of the plane that propels me comfortably through the air at about 570 mph. That’s when I look out the small plastic window beside me at the thick nocturnal blackness. I think. I think of the great gulf of space that now lies between my bed and my body. I ponder the vastitude of this world in which I live. The implications rush through my mind. There is a world beyond my community that exists not as a video feed displayed in a CNN broadcast, but as a massive web of communities, places, and people who are uniform in their humanity, and diverse in their needs. What do I owe them?

The second element: “Feijoada”. My stomach protests in hunger.  I sit at the unevenly oriented plastic table in front of me. A delicious variation of Feijoada steams before my nose as I lower it to pray. It is a stew-like dish comprised of sausages, onions, and black beans. As I raise my head from prayer, I see the smiling face of the mother who is so grateful to be serving the ones who came to serve her and her family. The irony slowly reconfigures my mind. What does it mean when someone can thank you for something that they are doing for you?

The third element: a tissue. I sit on the van riding back to my church with a throbbing headache. My throat aches with unquenchable soreness, and my breathing’s passage is restricted to my mouth. I retrieve a Kleenex tissue and blow my nose for relief. There is no relief. I realize however that I am still happy. This reality surprises me. It is now that I think of my faith. How glorious must Christ-centered joy be for it to push this malady into the realm of oblivion? I revel in my Spirit-wrought victory over egocentricity.


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