Recently I have been thinking about the meaning of glory. Glory comes from the Hebrew word, kavod, which means “weighty” or “heavy.” The opposite of this is “light”, or “frivolous.” Gold is heavy, it does not tarnish or rust, whereas brass is light and tarnishes easily. Brass can be polished to look like gold, but it loses its polish easily. From this we derive the idea that that which is heavy and solid is real, and that which is light is ghostlike or superficial. Sometimes we use this idea in our speech. We speak of a person being a real friend, or of having a solid friendship with someone.
C.S. Lewis carried out this idea in his book The Great Divorce, where the people from earth who are transported by bus to the land between earth and heaven discover that they are ghostlike, phantoms, whereas the brigh beings they meet there are solid and heavy. Everything up there is solid and heavy.
God’s glory is his inexpressible reality, a reality so real that it has its own weight and gravity. We read in John 1:14, And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; and we beheld his glory, gloty as of the only Son from the Father. Jesus revealed to us the reality of God. Jesus Christ himself partakes of the glory of his Father, the heavy reality of God.
As we come to know Christ, we partake of this reality. The closer we draw to God the more real we become, the further we drift from God the more ghostlike and superficial we become.
Paul writes: And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed into his likeness from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit (2 Corinthian 3:18).
Think of what this means: as we behold the glory of Jesus Christ, we are being changed from superficial, ghostlike people, into his likeness, heavy and real. The Holy Spirit works in our lives that gracious degree-by-degree transformation, from light to ever more heavy existence, from unreal to more real.
One closing passage from St. Paul: For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, because we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen, for the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal (2 Corinthians 4:17).