Jul 14 2013

Reflections on Reflections

MI7917If you happen to be one of my Facebook “friends” you know I am in Florida right now.  I’m attending my denomination’s General Assembly in Orlando but I came down a couple of days early so I could photograph at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge.   While in that area I posted several pictures I had taken.  A number of those images included reflections.  Rob jokingly calls me “the reflection guy.”  Maybe I am.  I certainly take a lot of images of reflections.   The past day or two I’ve been pondering why I gravitate to reflections.

One reason is quite simple; I think they are pretty.   If it is a particularly beautiful scene that is being reflected you get two of everything.  That makes it twice as nice!  I also like reflections because they have a calming effect on me.  They create in me a sense of peace and tranquility.  Beyond these reasons I have to confess that there is just something about reflections that move me or touch my soul.  I wonder if part of the reason for this is my awareness that we are all called to be reflections of God’s light and love.  I see this as being one of the primary reasons for my existence.

MI6158In the Gospel of John Jesus declared that he was the “light of the world.”  Elsewhere he told his followers that they, too, were the light of the world.  It is pretty obvious that those who are disciples of Christ are meant to reflect his light to others.  Unfortunately, we do so imperfectly, even at our best.  If you pay close attention to reflections out in nature you’ll notice that the reflection is always a bit darker than the subject it is reflecting.   That is certainly also true when we reflect Christ’s light.  We never really offer a perfect reflection but our goal should be to offer the best reflection that we can.

When I photograph reflections I generally want still or calm waters.  They offer me the condition I need to render near mirror like reflections.  I have a feeling that the reason a lot of us offer poor reflections of Christ is that there is a lack of calmness or stillness inside of us.  The waters of our soul are often turbulent or choppy.  This keeps us from offering to others a clear reflection of Christ which, in turn, keeps us from fulfilling our true purpose in life.

MI7803If we want to do better than this (and I do) then we must find ways of stilling the soul.  In Psalm 46:10 the Psalmist has God say “Be still and know that I am God.”  Somehow, someway, we have got to learn how to be still.  There are a number of things we can do to promote this stillness.  We can discipline ourselves to slow down some.  The fast paced lives most of us live is not conducive to stillness.  We can and should learn to live in the moment.  Fretting about the past or worrying about the future does not help our cause.  We can follow Brother Lawrence’s advice and “practice the presence of God” moment by moment.  We can learn to meditate, something the Bible encourages.   We can spend more time in prayer.  I find worship to be something that helps create peace within.  Likewise, I know that time spent in the splendor of God’s Creation often brings about the desired result.

MI7758Yes, there are a lot of things we can do to help us be better reflections of Christ and his love.  There are any number of things we can do to promote the stillness inside that will help create beautiful reflections.  But in the end we still need God’s help.  In the 23rd Psalm the writer speaks of God leading him “beside still waters.”  We, too, need to let God direct our steps and allow Him to take us where we need to be.  There will be times in our lives when our souls are so storm-tossed that we will need a miracle for others to see Jesus in us.  The good news I have to offer you here is that the one who calmed the sea long ago can calm the storms in our souls today as well.   Yes, the one who calls us to be reflections of himself can and will help us do just that.  And when we let him, it is a beautiful sight to behold.


(I took all of the images above at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge this past week.)