Text: 2 Corinthians 3:12-4:2
"...we all reflect as in a mirror the splendor of the Lord; thus we are transfigured into his likeness, from splendor to splendor; such is the influence of the Lord who is Spirit" (2 Corinthians 3:18 New English Bible)
Several years ago my father died. During that whole experience I renewed acquaintances with relatives and friends of our family I had not seen for many years. Such reunion was painful because of the circumstances but also strangely healing for me. In my aunts and uncles I felt closer to my father, and even in their faces I caught glimpses of him. And I cannot tell you how many of them came up to me and said something like this, "You know, when I see you, I am reminded of your father. You look so much like him. Even your voice reminds me of him." I found that flattering in many ways. I loved my father dearly. He was a good, loving, Christian man who many others loved as well. I saw him make many sacrifices for his family and for the church. To be compared to him in any way was, to me, a very great compliment.
Has anyone ever said something like that to you?
"Oh, every time I see you I think of..."
"You look just like..."
"You have her hair...his eyes...her smile..."
Sometimes you might be flattered by that comparison and others times not.
How wonderful it would be if persons would come up to us and say often, "You know, each time I see you I think of Christ. You remind me so much of him...
your eyes, like his, are full of compassion...
your face is radiant from communion with God...
your hands, like his, are scarred from stretching them out in love and sacrifice...
your words, like his, bring light and hope and truth...
your mind, like his, is set on servanthood, on giving, not getting...
You sure remind me of Christ."
What greater compliment can we receive than that?
Being a Christian is a very simple thing, I think. You do not have to go to college to figure it out. To say we are Christians is to say that we are "Christ-like," we are "little Christs." We are saying that every aspect of our lives is modeled after that of Christ, so that when others see us, hear us, interact with us, they see Christ reflected in us. This and so much more is what we mean when we say, "We are Christians."
Truth be told, when I realize this, it makes me reluctant to say, "I am a Christian." For, though I pray some things about me reflect Christ, I fear that much does not. But it is the desire of my heart that, as Paul says, Christ may continually become transfigured in me...and that is my prayer for you, too, my friends.
I have often been told and have seen it myself that persons who spend a great deal of time together often even end up looking like and especially acting like one another. Have you ever heard that or
witnessed it? It makes sense. Those with whom we spend our time will surely influence us and often in ways we may not even be aware. We often hear of the negative side of this, you know, associating with the wrong crowd. There is truth in that. But the positive side of it is that our life-long companions of good faith and character share some of who they are with us as well. It is as if some of who they are is absorbed into us - our words, our thinking, our attitudes, our very being.
My friends, I know no other way that we truly grow in Christlikeness than in coming closer to Christ, than spending a life time in his presence...
in studying and following his teachings...
in prayer and meditation with him...
in gathering with his people to worship, pray, sing, study, and serve...for where two are gathered in his name, he promises to be present in a very special way...
It’s a funny thing about a mirror (hold up one - perhaps a floor length one). The closer an object is to it, the better the mirror can reflect it so that it can be seen.
We are mirrors, my friends, mirrors for the Master to gaze constantly in and be reflected back to the world. The closer we mirrors are to him, the bigger, the clearer he will be seen in us.
On a family vacation we happened by Luray, Virginia, and went into the famous Luray Caverns. Soon we found ourselves in a strange, new world. The cool, misty air filled your lungs, a welcome change from the humidity and heat from the outside world. The whole place was like God’s sculpturing studio. Minute-to-massive rock figures in multi-colors rose majestically from the ground and plunged from the ceiling. Occasionally a drop of sediment rich water would drop on your face as you looked up, reminding you that the infinitely patient and ceaseless process that created all of this was still at work.
But of all we saw that day the most interesting and inspiring to me was "Mirror Lake." It’s a section of the caverns that’s covered with about 8 to 10 inches of water. The water was practically invisible.
Had the guide not told us it was there, we would have been completely unaware of it. Such was the perfection of its reflective power. I reached out and touched the water just to see if it was really there.
As I stood there thinking about how this tiny lake reflected perfectly the beauty of the ceiling about it, it came to me that this is what I have been striving for in my Christian life - to be a mirror lake, to perfectly reflect the One above, whose love is so wondrous. I had to admit that often I was a poor reflector, a tiny, dingy lake. But somehow I felt renewed and encouraged. If that little lake could so flawlessly reflect the beauty of God’s handiwork, then surely I, surely we, with the help of the Spirit, can reflect in our lives the beauty of Christ.
One of my favorite songs goes like this:
"If not in you,
I wonder where
will they ever see
the one who really cares?
If not from you,
how will they find
there’s one who heals the broken heart
and gives sight to the blind?
And if not in you,
I wonder who
will show them love and
love alone can make things new?
If not from you,
how will they learn
there’s one who’ll tade their
hopelessness for joy in return.
‘Cause you’re the only Jesus
some may ever see;
and you’re the only words
of life some may ever read.
So let them see in you,
the one in whom
is all they’ll ever need.
‘Cause you‘re the only Jesus,
some will ever see."
Lord, help us to become mirrors so close to the Christ that others see him perfectly reflected in us. Amen.