Tuesday, October 20, 2009

LOVE NEEDS A MIRROR

(Photos by Neil Cullan McKinlay)

Blue seas appear when the clouds disappear and the sky gives a parting kiss before vanishing over the horizon. Then moonlight strikes the ocean, turning it into molten lead, which, at the appointed time, is transmuted into gold by the rising sun. Yes, the night stays dark till the Creator gently retrieves the gold fob watch from His waistcoat-pocket come morning. The echo of the words, ‘Let there be light’ will not fade away for as long as day follows night. As the sea reflects the sky, so time reflects eternity, so earth reflects heaven, and so man reflects his Maker. Love is like a mirror.
But as choppy seas distort the image of the sky on the face of the waters, so the fountains of evil broke open to issue forth from the wellspring of man. Sin distorts man the image of God. But God is love, and on the Day of Pentecost God the Father and God the Son from heaven poured the good oil of God the Spirit on the troubled waters of mankind. The desert blooms into life when it receives the showers of God’s blessing. And nations cease to rage as the Son of Righteousness rises with healing in His wings. As the sea begins to reflect the glassy sea in heaven above, the peoples, along with cherubim and seraphim, fall down before the Lamb, for the good Shepherd leads us beside still waters and we lie down in green pastures. His will shall be done on earth as it is in heaven when man truly reflects His Maker once more, for a soul restored is an image renewed.

Cultural activities on earth reflect heavenly activities. Man is to eat, drink, and do all things to the glory of God. Which is to say that man is to love the LORD our God with all of our heart, soul, strength, and mind, and love our neighbour as ourself. In all our works, and in all our interactions with God and with our neighbour we are to mirror love, even the Father’s love for His Son. Thus the kingdom of the Son of His love manifests itself only to the eyes of man renewed by the Spirit, for spiritual things are spiritually discerned.

Under inspiration of the Holy Spirit the Apostle Paul – writing of Christians – says, ‘Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.’ 2 Corinthians 3:17-18.

Jesus rebuked the storm, stilling the wind and calming the sea. When we are rebuked by the message of His cross our spirits are stilled and our souls are calmed. Thus we stop our rage against the LORD and against His Anointed. Indeed, ‘Why do the nations rage, and the people plot a vain thing?’ Psalm 2:1. Why are people like ‘raging waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame?’ Jude 1:13. It’s because we are cracked mirrors of God the lot of us, and cracked mirrors distort the image of true love. Our love at best is second best because we don’t love – as we ought – God who is love.

Because God loves His only begotten Son, so our first love ought to be Jesus Christ who is the express image of God. For He images the Father perfectly, while the rest of us fall short of His glory. This is because the heart of fallen man is a black hole full only of darkness when it comes to God and the things of God. ‘The heart is an idol factory,’ says Calvin. With it we form gods in our own distorted image, even gods we can ignore. But then there’s our conscience, of which the 17th century Puritan Richard Sibbes said, ‘is the soul reflecting upon itself.’ And then the 18th century poet Robert Burns said, ‘O wad some Pow’r the giftie gie us, to see oursels as others see us!’

As fallen men our image of ourself is as every bit as distorted as our image of the God who made us, and whose image we are and whose image we are to reflect in our everyday activities. But love looks beyond itself, for the Father loves the Son and the Spirit who both love the Father and each other.

By faith the Christian looks to the One who says, ‘He who has seen Me has seen the Father.’ John 14:9. – To the One who says, ‘If you love Me, keep My commandments.’ John 14:15. Then out of love and gratitude to God for saving him, the Christian – in the power supplied by the Holy Spirit who has regenerated and sustains him – seeks to reflect God through obedience. Love needs a mirror because love’s object is others. Only in the Jesus revealed in Scripture do we see the clear and undistorted image of God.

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