Posted by: Jonathan Stepp | February 9, 2009

Noticing Glory

Would you notice glory if it shone into your life on a regular workday morning? Experiments suggest the answer is “no”.

A couple of years ago the Washington Post did an experiment where they asked the master violinist Joshua Bell to play his Stradivarius in a subway station in Washington D.C. during the rush of the morning commute. Over 1,000 people walked past him and almost no one took any notice of him. Even though Bell routinely plays concerts where people pay $100+ to hear him, only a handful of people stopped to listen that morning – never enough to even form a crowd – and his open violin case collected only $32 in donations.

One statement in the Post’s article struck me as interesting. According to the writer, the philosopher Immanuel Kant suggested that in order “to properly appreciate beauty, the viewing conditions must be optimal.” And, of course, rushing through a crowded subway station on the way to work is not an optimal condition for appreciating beauty.

This got me to thinking about church activities like Sunday worship, small group gatherings, and bible studies. Attending to these – and other spiritual disciplines – does not in any way make our Father in heaven love us more or make us more included in his life through Jesus by the Holy Spirit. Because of Jesus we are always and forever included in the glorious life of the Trinity, apart from our work or action.

The Glory of the Triune Life is always around us. But we do not always see it.

Worship, communion, the Bible, and other spiritual disciplines are all gifts of Jesus to humanity. They are the gifts by which he creates an optimal condition in which we might pause, see, and appreciate the glory of humanity’s adoption into the Trinity through Jesus.

And that’s why they matter. That’s why it is important that some of us gather together as the Church and begin to practice the life in which we are all inlcuded. Without an optimal condition in time and space called “the Church” the whole human race would keep rushing right by the faithfulness of the Father and never notice the glory of what the Spirit is telling us about our life in Jesus.



  1. Wonderful post Jonathan. However, I feel most people would agree to the ‘beauty’ aspect of our being in the right position to enjoy the “music” of the Holy Trinity. But consider:

    When we are doing wonderful things, music, beholding beautiful sunsets, listening to a newborn cry, seeing a new mother nurse her baby, we can agree that the “place” is right and there is Communion and Unity with the Triune God and Jesus.

    I posit that when we are in the deepest despairs and sins of humans capability that the Saviour Jesus Christ in right there in the middle of that “position” as well. He is experiencing our sin and sinfulness with us and get this–here is the Good News– He is ENTERING into our being and relieving us of those sins and assuming them into His Being FOR us. ( II Cor.5:19-21). How cool it that?

    So , no matter where we are or what we are doing, whether good,bad, right, wrong or sinful, Jesus is in that place, situation and circumstance WITH us as JESUS–Saviour, deliverer, redeemer, and FRIEND.

    Just a thought. He never leaves us …not for one minute…nor forsakes us nor ever ceases to stand in as our surragate Saviour always and eternally.


    Again, “How cool is that?”

    Paul Kurts

  2. Brother Jonathon Lately I have been more atuned to seeing the life of the Father and Son a Holy Sprit.Just today I remembered an episode of Andy Griffin where a little boy named Leon,with peanut butter and jelly smear around his mouth, reaches the sandwich to Andy to take abite. If we enter into the kingdom of heaven as a little chlid it may very well involve the sharing of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich .May we all be so willing to”taste and see that the Lord is good”

  3. Wow, Rick, talk about entering the Kingdom as a little child!!!



  4. Hi Jonathan
    Thanks for sharing
    Wanted to share this with you also as I did on another blog with small changes.
    Well into the book “Incarnation” a new release by T F. Torrance. It is full of delightful nuggets provoking thought on Father, Son and Holy Spirit. One of these is apprehension and comprehension. God never intended for me to comprehend Him, just too dimly apprehend who He is and who I am in Jesus. Yet, many times I write from my own accredited scholarly comprehension that will always dynamite my relationship with others as I step on and over where they find themselves in their distinctive relationship with God. This comprehension kills relationship, while the humility of apprehension opens the door for community love of humanities inclusion and adoption into the very heart of God. As you have expressed so well this becomes the church or body life that the world so desperately needs to come to know. Do I comprehend Romans 6:10&11? No! But I can dimly apprehend it, not just for me but for all humanity. jg

  5. Stumbling over my language, not unusual, it is apprehend and comprehend that I am talking about. jg

  6. Thanks, guys, all good points! Thanks for adding so wonderfully to my thoughts.

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