And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
2 Corinthians 3:18 (NIVUK)
Six years ago Anke, Madeleine and I had a couple of days off in the *Cotswolds. We visited many beautiful little towns and villages, had a fair bit of good weather and the exciting yet uncomfortable arrival of Madeleine’s first two teeth.
On one of our day’s out carrying a whining baby girl around we decided to drive to Tewkesbury and visit the cathedral. It is pretty impressive. Beautiful. Awe-inspiring. Exquisite Gothic arches meet at the top of a ceiling so high one might get vertigo just looking at it. Fortunately a mirror was put in the centre of the aisle at such an angle that one might be able to see the whole ceiling inside it (pictured). Without the mirror some of the glory might get lost in the grandeur and immensity of it all.
A lot, I think, like our experiences of God. He is, indeed, far bigger than our human minds can fully comprehend. The four living creatures mentioned in Revelation 4:8 continues to say “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come,” and it never ever gets old. God is so wonderful that eternity is not long enough to give Him all the praise due His name! Unbelievable!
So it is understandable that we may get overwhelmed by God’s glory at times. Especially when we compare ourselves to Him. There really is no comparison. But we try, don’t we? We forget so easily who it is we are worshipping, honouring, glorifying. The sound of all creation proclaiming His majesty sometimes fade away like the dying embers of a once great fire.
Unless, of course, we stoke that fire back to life and allow the Holy Spirit to blow it into a bigger and bigger flame.
The word ‘contemplate’ in today’s reading is translated from a very long Greek word that is only used once in the Bible – katoptrizomenoi – which means ‘beholding an image as in a mirror.’ Almost like looking intently into a mirror to make sense of what you’re seeing.
But, of course, there is a degree of intentionality in looking into a mirror. One has to go to the bathroom mirror to look in it. One has to stop in front of the hall mirror to straighten everything that needs straightening before leaving the house. One has to look up from one’s phone to see oneself in the elevator mirror, however unflattering it might be…
The same with God. By being intentional in contemplating His glory – by looking in the mirror of His Word, led by His Spirit, focussing wholly on Him alone – our lives are changed, transformed, to reflect Him more purely. And it’s a choice we can make every second of every day we breathe.
Try it. Instead of asking God for things during your prayer time, look for His glory. Think on it. Contemplate it. Be engulfed and captured by it. And tomorrow, do it all over again. Let me know how your life changes.
Father, you are glorious, majestic, righteous, magnificent, wonderful, awesome, powerful, gracious, kind and merciful. You are loving, caring, mighty to save, captivating, all-consuming. To you alone be all glory, honour and praise. Amen.