trusted online casino malaysia
Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.

Gone the Glory?

When God's people leave off doing things His way, the glory of God begins to pack its bags.

And she named the child Ichabod, saying, "The glory has departed from Israel..."

   - 1 Samuel 4.21

Adae, i.e., ad dee, "to God", i. e. due to God

  - Cormac, Glossary (Irish, 9th-10th century)

In two dramatic passages in the Old Testament the glory of God is described as departing from Israel. The first is in 1 Samuel 4, when the Philistines seized the ark of the covenant and carried it back to their land. This was a shocking tragedy. Through their recklessness in battle, and their trust in a cultural artifact (the ark) rather than God Himself, the people came to destruction, overwhelmed by their enemies and sent scurrying for their lives.

The second, in Ezekiel 1-10, is a similar situation. Israel had failed to keep faith with God. They let the old, proven ways of obedience and worship go, substituting for the Law of God the ways of the surrounding pagan nations. Consequently, the glory of God departed the temple, leaving that empty cultural artifact prey to the ravages of the Babylonians and others.

When God's people leave off doing things His way, preferring instead whatever they find most agreeable to their likes and whims, the glory of God begins to pack its bags. Cormac, a late-9th century bishop, compiled a list of ancient Celtic words which had fallen into disuse in his day. It's interesting to observe that one of these is the word, adae - glory to God.

By Cormac's day, a century after the Celtic Revival had ceased, everything about religion and life in Ireland had become concerned more with the things of this world than the things of God. The ravages of the Norsemen upon the churches and monasteries of Ireland were regarded by Alcuin as evidence that God was judging the Irish because they had left off the old ways. The glory of God had indeed departed, and the Church was left - a mere artifact of culture - to the whims of faithless saints and the ravages of violent foes.

I have noted before in these pages the fact that narcissism - inordinate fascination with or attention to oneself - is being dropped from the list of mental disorders. The fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders will no longer include narcissism as a "problem" to be corrected by therapy.

My sense is that because narcissism has become so widespread, so everywhere the norm, it's difficult for psyschiatrists to treat it as abnormal.

Even the Church is overrun with and overwhelmed by narcissism. Many seem to think that Christian faith is primarily intended to make us happy, so they define faith as they see fit - whether as a gospel of health and wealth or of grace without the requirement of work. Others look to worship as an arena in which something is supposed to happen for them - some spiritual entertainment to gladden their souls and tickle their ears. Many people commit to the life and work of the church only to the extent that it fulfills some need in their souls.

Churches these days are in danger of becoming little more than cultural artifacts to which we in order to enjoy whatever victories of peace or wellbeing our souls may desire. Yet many congregations have become suffused with the narcissistic attitude and accoutrements of this age, and they only succeed in providing temporary gratification. The demand for new programs, new worship songs, and other innovations, if not satisfied, will see some people heading off to a new church in order to gratify their personal whims.

As in the days of Samuel, Ezekiel, and Cormac, the glory of God may well be departing our churches. And as in those days, we will only recognize it after the fact - when it's too late to avoid the Lord's discipline.

Before the glory is gone, let us, where needed, repent of our self-centered ways and learn again the old ways - the Biblical ways - of glorifying God and enjoying Him forever.

The way to glorify God begins in prayer. Join us, won't you, in calling the men of your church to seek the Lord in prayer? Order copies of If Men Will Pray and give them to the men of your church. I'm persuaded that, unless we can move the men of our churches to pray, the glory of God will again depart the churches of the land.

So let's not sit by and allow our churches to become mere artifacts of culture, laid waste by the spirit of the age because we refused to take action when we could.

T. M. Moore, Principal

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

Subscribe to Ailbe Newsletters

Sign up to receive our email newsletters and read columns about revival, renewal, and awakening built upon prayer, sharing, and mutual edification.