The following article was written by Casey Corum.
"The glory of God is man; fully alive" - St. Irenaeus of Lyons
At first reading, this often-quoted phrase can be interpreted in a number of ways. Let's explore this from a couple of different angles.
The glory of God is man - fully alive. In other words, it can be put forward that there is a measure to which God is glorified when we are fully being ourselves. God is glorified as we express our God-given gifts, talents, quirks and personalities. In other words, we are us being truly "us." I'm reminded of the quote from the 1981 movie, Chariots of Fire, when the character playing runner Eric Liddell expresses this thought:
"I believe God made me for a purpose, but He also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure."
I think this quote gets at the heart of this idea - that God can be glorified when we express how He has made us. It is a powerful idea, indeed.
Another angle we can observe this quote from might be better understood if we turn St. Irenaeus' quote around on itself this way:
"Man fully alive, is man glorifying God."
I also love this interpretation because I believe it digs into the heart of our higher purpose and calling as the children of God. This is to say that our highest and most noble purpose, the place where we truly find that for which we are made, is to be found in that place of worship, glorifying God with all we are. This is the place we find His life in exchange for our own.
We can sense some of the deep joy to be found in this place of worship expressed in the words of Paul found in Romans 11:33,
"Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and His paths beyond tracing out!"
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