Monday, 18 May 2009

Tender Reflections


For she is a reflection of eternal light,
a spotless mirror of the working of God,
and an image of his goodness.

(Wisdom of Solomon 7:26)

Each line of this verse offers a profound insight into the way in which the Holy Spirit seeks to shape both the church and each and every one of us. To my mind we are rather like the locomotive tender pictured in the photograph.  The manner in which we are held together spiritually, emotionally and intellectually is often plain to see on the surface, with a profusion of rivets and seams much in evidence, but what lies beneath the outer appearance, in this case the water and coal to provide the energy and power for the journey, is hidden. The emblem leaves no doubt about identity. The surface of the tender, though shiny, is scratched and marked. The black paint is polished to a high sheen, so much so that as it catches the light the colour disappears and the tender becomes a mirror. Imperfect and impromptu it may be, but at this moment it is a mirror nonetheless. And reflected in it, caught in a moment of time, are lives bathed in sunlight, radiant with colour.

To be a reflection of the eternal light of God's love in Jesus, to be a mirror of the working's of God's grace and compassion, to become an  image, however imperfect, of God's goodness and loving-kindness; this is a holy vocation and the work of a lifetime. To trust the liberating presence of God hidden deep down in the centre of our being is to discover the energy, fuel and power for the soul-work of personal transformation which God longs to gift to us, and for our discipleship and mission to which God calls us. Such tender reflections get to the heart of my faith.

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