Thursday, January 23, 2014

Reflecting, part 1

  “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory…”                                                                                                               II Corinthians 3:18, NIV

Yes, this is me.
The vivid memory flooded back. I remembered what I had seen paddling down the Green River several summers ago: tall red rock cliffs towering over me on the west reflected perfectly in the calm waters of the slow-moving river. I looked up to see massive stone. I looked to my side and there again the handiwork of God… this time the mammoth red  painted on water.

The amazing clarity surprised as I beheld the glory of the Lord in creation.

Walking through the tall pines that border our property one cool fall morning, once again I was mesmerized by reflection. This time the Ponderosas showing off the full length of their majesty in the small pond nestled in the forest behind our home. Again held captive by God-created beauty.

From the south the still, clear, dark water provided the perfect canvas for the silvery green needles resting in sunlight. No breezes, no ripples, picture perfect, a live watercolor. I love these God-created pictures. I get to enjoy his creation twice.

I circled around to the other side of our unnamed pond. The sun now offered a new picture. The mirror image of the tall pines obvious still—but something changed. On the surface water bugs, flecks of dust, and growing green offered a different view, not quite as clear.

The apostle Paul using the analogy of reflecting (NIV) or beholding (ESV) is both challenging and affirming; it ignites a desire God placed in my heart. I want to behold his glory and reflect him to my world—even when the reflection is a bit cloudy, which it often is.

One thing that makes it cloudy is fear. I fear my image is not a true God-reflection. So I wear a mask. I mistakenly think the mask is a good idea.
My unveiled face (as Paul described) is now veiled, or masked. Masks cover the real. A mask is my way of trying to control who you think I am. I am purposing to protect me and God. But it doesn’t work. Instead I am creating a barrier. You can’t know the real Sue; you know only a masked image. The mask sometimes accomplishes my desire… I want you to think I am ____________ ; you fill in the blank. Sometimes that comforts. I want you to believe the mask is me. I purposely don it. But the comfort is elusive.

Then one day in my haste, I forget my mask. How embarrassing; how intimidating—my personal bugs and flecks of dust now obvious. Yet, how glorious, how freeing. 

The real Sue appears—without a veil, without a mask, able to reflect. God is seen. It makes me smile just typing these words. Paper maché and synthetically created masks can’t reflect. Paul teaches, I only reflect with an unveiled (unmasked) face.

God trusting me with the picture of himself is scary, exciting, and honoring at the same time. I return the trust to God by refusing the invitation of a mask.
Beholding another awe-inspiring God-scape

I want to behold his glory. 
I want to reflect his image.

“as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, …”                      Philippians 1:20
To be continued next Thursday…

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