It is a curious picture of “glory”.

JudasJudas has just gone out from the company of the disciples intending to betray Jesus into the hands of violent men. Jesus responds declaring,

Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once.’ (John 13:31,32)

How could this dark sad moment be the moment in which God has “glorified” his Son?

It appears Jesus may not entirely share my vision of glory. I have spent much of my life hoping to be “glorified”, longing to be raised just slightly above the pack, to be singled out for special notice, having my gifts and abilities recognized, affirmed, and praised.

I have been like the young man Thomas Keating knew who had been a wild party animal proud of his ability to drink all other party-goers under the table, until he had an over-powering encounter with God. He changed his ways dramatically and entered the monastery. But, his desire to excel had not changed. The ambitious young monk, newly settled in the monastic community determined that he would pray harder and meditate longer than any of his brother monks. He would pray them all under the table, just as he had previously beaten his buddies in their drinking exploits.

But Jesus is not interested in helping me achieve glory by raising me above the crowd. Jesus is not in the business of pampering my fragile little ego in the futile hope that my glorification might impart to me a robust lasting sense of personal well-being. The path to glory Jesus chose is quite different.

After announcing his own glorification, Jesus called his followers to a radically different way of glory.

I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.’ (John 13:34,35)

The Jesus path to glory travels along the way of love. And I am not sure I want to follow Jesus on his glory path of love.

The problem with Jesus’ love is that it hurts. There is no love that is like Jesus’ love that does not embrace the reality of suffering. If I am gong to love like Jesus loved, I am gong to be wounded.

Jesus calls me to a love that lays down its life for the beloved, a love that comes down out of its protective fortress and is willing to make itself vulnerable to pain.

The word “vulnerable” comes from the Latin vulnerabilis meaning “wounding”. To love is to embrace the inevitability of being wounded. If I will not bear the pain, I will not have the love.

How is it possible to willingly bear the inevitability of pain?

I must find within myself that place that is deeper than all wounding.

It is true that love hurts. But, it is also true that, as Richard Rohr so boldly states I “have never been hurt.” The pain life brings is real and hard. But the hurt I experience is not the deepest truth. There is a deeper reality within me that is stronger and more real than anything I might ever suffer.

I cannot stop the wounds that love inevitably brings. But, I can recognize that, in all the wounds I have ever experienced, the voice of God is calling me to walk the path of glory, to go deeper, to open more fully and gently to the strong radiant reality of my true nature that cannot ever be shaken. This is the glory with which Jesus was glorified. It is a glory that no pain can destroy and no wounds and undo.