I was watching one of these television programmes about antiques the other day and an Ancient Roman Bronze mirror came up for sale. It wasn’t a great mirror since the reflection it gave didn’t compare to modern mirrors. But it got me thinking about how we are made in the image and likeness of God and how creation reflects the glory of God. There is a wonderful poem by Gerald Manley Hopkins - ‘God’s Grandeur’ - which speaks of the beauty of creation reflected in creation: ‘The world is charged with the grandeur of God. It will flame out, like shining from shook foil…’ The poem goes on to speak of humanity and its drudgery and toil, but creation is always able to offer something new.
That however is the confusion we face in life. On the one hand there is so much that is beautiful and good in creation, things that clearly reflect the goodness and greatness of God, but in the course of life, in humanity and in creation, we experience much that is wrong and evil, we find sin in others and in ourselves and it all leaves us confused about life and about God. How can good and evil exist, how can it be allowed to exist? It’s like that bronze mirror: the reflection of God is hazy and unclear and we prefer clarity in our reflections.
As Christians we also look to Christ as the revelation of God. As Son of God his revelation is much clearer than creation and that is why it is important for us to remember that what he tells us is the word of God and not just some other human idea, it is important to remember that he is the Son of God and not just some other wise man. The revelation of God that he gives us is centred on the cross and resurrection and it is there that the confusion of the world and of the image of God is cleared. It is in the very places we find the confusion of life and the obscurity of God’s image in creation that Christ shows the glory of God. In the suffering of his death on the cross, in his subjection to sin and the powers of this world, Christ rises from the dead to show us who God truly is. He breaks through the darkness of death with the light of his resurrection.
That was the reason for the joy of the early Christians. They saw clearly in the resurrection of Christ what they had been asking to see: a sign of God’s love for them, a proof of his goodness that was lost to them because in searching for his presence in the world, they could only find confusion, they could only find the grandeur of God mixed in with the sin and suffering in the world.
We live in a world that is searching for God, but it is searching for signs of God in creation, it is reaching for proof of his existence in life and in what we experience there. All it will find is the confusion of the mixture of Good and evil because our world is marked by original sin. It’s only Christ in his death and resurrection who can separate the good from the evil, the wheat from the tares. It is only in faith that we can see a clear reflection of the Grandeur of God reflected in Christ. Each of us is called to reflect what we have seen, each of us already does that in the way we live our life.