Reflections - Musings, Questions and Connections
Jul 28, 2008 by Nancy Buschart | 0 Comments
Reflections intrigue me
I'm still in Wisconsin's Northwoods where, year after year, I try to take photographs of reflections. The water is a mirror. That which is reflected there -- sky, clouds, trees, birds, boat, dragonfly -- is fascinating and amazing to study. To some degree, whatever is above the surface of the water is reflected in the mirror of the water.
The condition of the mirror and the quality of the reflection
On a calm, clear day the reflected image is stunningly mirrored.
On a windy day, the water's surface is rough and the reflection, distorted. Yet, even when the ominous sky is steely gray and the water is rough with waves, there remains a hint of shadow that the eye and the imagination can discern to be reflection.
It is not a natural inclination to look first for the reflection. The eye usually perceives the cloud, the trees -- the true thing -- first. Then, if awake and aware, the mirrored image eventually becomes a part of the self-conscious. But, sometimes, the reflection itself leads to the true thing. Color or movement in the water may catch one's attention drawing the mind and the eye to attend to the true thing.
Musings, questions, and connections
When I muse over these reflections, words of scripture inevitably come to mind. Are the reflections seen in the mirror of the lake metaphors for God's word that it might make sense in my heart?
God reflected; Jesus, the reflection
- He is the image of the invisible God, ... For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell. [Col 1: 15, 19]
- Whoever has seen me, has seen the Father. [John 14:9]
Jesus, the perfect reflection of the Father. Jesus is the clear-day, calm waters reflection of the Father. No turbulent, troubled mirror there. How does my understanding of Jesus as the perfect reflection of the Father square with my beliefs about God? It's often easier to identify with Jesus -- to like him, trust him, to believe that he likes me! -- than with God the Father.
Unguarded words reflect the conditions of our hearts
- For out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks. [Mt 12:34]
- The things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these defile you. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what defile you. [Mt 15:18-19]
- ... whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead. ... In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness. [Mt 23:27-28]
Yikes -- stopped short by Jesus' blunt rebuke! He sees through the Pharisees' façade of righteousness. The attempted deception fails and what is in the heart reflects from the inside out. Words tell much about the condition of the heart. What we work to hide is never really hidden; it is reflected in our attitudes and interactions with others.
Troubled waters of the soul
Centering Prayer, a contemplative practice, focuses upon centering one's heart and mind on Christ. An image used here likens the soul to a muddy lake with stirred and murky waters. One is to imagine the murky waters settling to the bottom of the lake. As the waters clear so does the pray-er experience increased clarity of mind and heart and the deepest needs of the soul can be clearly identified.
It takes time for murky, stirred water to clear. And, it takes time for the soul to settle down. Martha was cooking for a crowd. She needed some help in the kitchen, someone to share the decision-making-chicken or beef? Jesus tells her that she is "worried and upset about many things" [Lk 10:41].
I identify with Martha. Sometimes the to-do list expands out of control. We get overwhelmed and lose perspective. This is one reason for taking a vacation, a retreat, an afternoon away. Studying the reflections on the lake is an important spiritual discipline. Taking time away, what I see reflected in the water settles the stirred and troubled waters, which are anxious about many things, of my own soul.
No more a reflection, but face to face
- For now we see only a 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. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. [1 Cor 13:12-13]
Reflections are wonderful. A phenomenon of creation for which I am deeply grateful. They indicate aliveness, the inhale and exhale of existence. They are a result of the presence of the "true thing." And, they draw us to acknowledge and interact with the "true thing."
But, they are only reflections. There will come a day when we will see "face to face!" What is known now of the One Who Is True is like the reflection in the water -- even on the clearest, calmest day the water always distorts what it reflects. It is always turned around backwards and it always bears resemblance only. Exact detail cannot be reflected in the mirror of the water. Enter faith, hope and love. Because of these, through these, abiding in these, I wait for the coming of the One Who Is True. No longer reflected in creation or revealed in his word, then I will see him "face to face." That will be a good day!
The Three Questions for today
Who is God?
Known in part, reflected in all of life
Who am I?
One who knows in part, but is even now fully known
How am I living?
Studying hard to see clearly
I invite you to respond with your own musings, questions and connections about reflections and the One Who Is True.
©2008 Vine, Vision & Voice
Nancy R. Buschart