Thursday, November 3

Obscured Reflections

Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. --1st Corinthians 13:12

Many people are familiar with the concept contained in today's verse. Although I prefer using the NIV translation, many people are more familiar with the wording of the King James Version which uses the phrase "through a glass, darkly." It is an effective metaphor that can be used for describing our limited perception of God's plan and purpose.

When a phrase such as "through a glass, darkly" is used, I have a tendency to ignore it, as it is on the verge of becoming cliche. However, last night those four words made their way into the recesses of my brain and have been marinating in thought juices ever since. Last night at church, our pastor used this phrase as part of his discussion about God's omnipotence and his righteous judgment, particularly as it is described throughout the book of Revelations and also used as the text in Handel's "Hallelujah!" chorus. Pastor Hamilton described how our view of judgment and justice is very much influenced by our own experiences.

During a portion of the pastor's discussion, I had been, admittedly, not paying too much attention. The wall we face in church is almost entirely covered with windows, and I had been staring complacently at the reflection of our congregation. "Through a glass darkly"--those words got me thinking. I'm pretty sure it was the word "darkly" that hit me the hardest. From where my husband and I were seated in church, I could not see much of the world outside. The lights in the sanctuary were on, which when combined with the blanket of darkness lying just beyond the glass, dramatically obscured even my own reflection in the window pane.

This is what the world is like to those of us who see through the eyes of a Christian worldview. Even when our immediate surroundings are illuminated, the reflection of Christ in us is still badly out of focus. It won't be until we are actually in His presence that we will know and experience the full truth of His omnipotence. Because we live in a dark world, we sometimes have to strain our eyes to make out even the faintest light on a nearby hillside. There are times when it feels like there is nothing out there that is luminescent, let alone bright enough to guide us.

The day will come when we will know fully who and what God is. We will know the fullness and richness of His love and mercy. We will rejoice with the angels as His judgment is carried out once and for all. Our present experiences and expectations of God's eternity and the ways we share in that is but an obscured reflection. How wonderful and exciting it is to know that all that will change in the twinkling of an eye, and He shall reign for ever and ever. Hallelujah!



At 8:07 PM, Blogger Broken Messenger said...

Lauren, I like the NIV as well, as I believe Paul in fact did mean mirror rather than dark glass. Mirrors of that day were highly polished bronze that gave a much poorer refection than our mirrors today and the metaphor fits well with James 1:24-25 too. Very good thoughts here.



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