“The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent.” Exodus 33:11
“ 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.” 1 Corinthians 13:12
I sat in my backyard the other day, which I enjoy doing since it brings me outdoors into the sunlight and shade of the afternoon. As I was seated in one of our chairs I realized that I was looking at the windows that lined the back of our home and seeing the landscape of our yard, its trees, flowers and grass, as a reflection. What I saw was flawed somewhat by the fact that the windows were very imperfect mirrors, broken up by the walls in between them. The reflection I saw had color and shape to it, yet it was a bit distorted, hazy and two dimensional. I realized I was sitting in the wrong direction to fully take in the beauty of my back yard. But I was comfortable and moving seemed a lot of effort and I figured the view would be there tomorrow at which time I could choose a better seat.
Reflections give us a glimpse of what is real, but they do not really do justice to the reality itself. The most refined mirrors, which my windows are not, still have a measure of distortion that must not be mistaken for the reality. Mirrors are helpful and have many uses, but seeing the real rather than the reflected still seems to be more satisfying. A mirror in some ways is a reminder that there is more still to be seen and experienced. In a three-dimensional world we often settle for a two-dimensional view of life.
I believe it is the same with the spiritual world. We see spirituality reflected in this world and easily settle for the manifestations of that reflection rather than seeking the origin of that reflection. The apostle Paul spoke of seeing only a reflection of spiritual realities while the intent of Jesus is to help us turn from the mirror to the reality and see Him face to face. One implication of this may be that when I am amazed and blessed by the reflections of love in this world, and then tempted to seek fulfillment in the reflection, I would be better served to turn and face Jesus and the reality of His presence. His reality will always surpass the reflection. Yet those mirrors we encounter can provide an opportunity to look beyond the mirror itself to the better reality Jesus embodies.
My encouragement to you this day is to practice turning to the reality. When you experience the beauty reflected in mercy and kindness, turn and face Jesus the source and origin. When you see your own reflection and are tempted to stroke whatever narcissistic tendencies you may have, turn and face Jesus, the humble selfless servant. When you see in that mirror the reflected suffering, brokenness and pain of this world, turn and face Jesus who is powerfully compassionate, just and bears the marks of that suffering on His body. Don’t settle for a relationship with the reflection, a two-dimensional image, but instead turn and face the One who is all loving reality, beauty and power. Jesus longs to meet you “face to face as one speaks to a friend” and help you experience fully the expansive dimensions of His reality. Here is a song that expresses this call to turn toward Jesus as the source of all of love and life. May it be a blessing to you this day.