Sunday, 27 November 2016

Jesus came to earth... to reflect God to us




Do you remember playing with a magnifying glass on a sunny day?  That curved piece of glass you held in your hand captured the scattered rays, narrowing them down to a fluttering patch of brightness.  And all the light’s power was held in that one small circle, shrinking and shrinking… until finally you were rewarded with a sudden curl of smoke, and a neat charred hole.

Imagine, then, that God, seeking to reveal himself on earth, condensed his essential being through some kind of celestial magnifying glass.  That wavering point became smaller and smaller, losing none of its power… until it became the exact size of a human baby, growing in a womb.

Jesus is the image of the invisible God, says the verse in Colossians, the perfect reflection of God’s glory.  This is the first and greatest reason that Jesus came: to show us what God is really like.  Yet sometimes, reflected and refracted through 2000 years of history, the image that Jesus shows us seems as blurred as any other.  How do we see it clearly again?

Start by taking one step backwards.  Jesus’ reflection of God is not just about the Sermon on the Mount.  Not just about the people he healed.  Not just his final words on the cross.  If we’re not careful, we can lose ourselves in analysing the detail.  And like an Impressionist painting, the picture dissolves into dots of unrelated colour.  But when we step back and realise that Jesus was God, all of him, and his whole life was dedicated to doing the will of the Father, then we start to see some larger patterns.  His life, death, resurrection and glory all form one extravagant sweep that leads our eye towards God.

And now take three steps forward again.  This is not a picture you can view from a safe distance.  This is a person who demands that you get involved.  The New Testament is full of references to sharing with Christ; we share his sufferings, his death, his resurrection and his reign.  As he shared his humanity with us, so we, gradually, can come to share his God-likeness with him.  The communion table, where we share his body and blood for ourselves and with others, is a beautiful reminder.  The love of God was shown through Jesus, John tells us, and it is only through sharing with love that he can be fully known.

And this Advent, find a magnifying glass and give yourself some time to remember the unwavering light of God, shining from a point just the size of a newborn baby, lying in a manger.  All the light’s power, held in that one small life… and more than enough to kindle a flame.

Photo attribution: By shakko (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi, one of my friend is doing an advent devotion on her blog and linked it to yours. I liked this post very much. Even though I never playeyed with the magnifying glass I can picture it. I will be looking forward to more Advent Sunday's. Cherry

Martha said...

Glad you liked it, Cherry! Can I ask which blog you found it from?