One of my favorite lines from the psalms is from Psalm 84:5-7 –
Blessed is the man whose strength is in you,
Whose heart is set on pilgrimage.
As they pass through the Valley of Baca,
They make it a spring;
The rain also covers it with pools.
They go from strength to strength;
Each appears before God in Zion.
“Pilgrimage…they go from strength to strength.”
St. Paul says, “eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek glory…” (Rom. 2:7); and “we all, with unveiled faces, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory…” (2 Cor. 3:18).
He also writes in Rom. 1:17 that “in [the gospel] the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith.” The NIV says “faith from first to last.”
In his great hymn, “Love divine, all loves excelling,” the great Methodist hymnwriter, Charles Wesley, pens, “Changed from glory into glory, till in heav’n we take our place.”
And C. S. Lewis in his story “The Last Battle” has the hosts of Narnia, having waged and won the great final battle, going “further in and further up.”
These lines attract my attention often, thanks to the Orthodox Faith. I think that they succinctly and beautifully express the idea of progression – a progression that the whole kosmos has experienced through the great evolutionary cycles; that the human race has experienced in its maturation over time and place; that the Faith has experienced in its unfolding through the history of salvation; that the Church Militant has experienced in its pilgrim advance; that the individual Christian soul experiences in its life in grace; and that we hope progresses throughout eternity into the very heart of God – infinite being, infinite beauty, infinite love.