[Note: I began this draft last week, and the weather is quite similar today. That’s Minnesota for ya!]
For now we see through a glass, indistinctly,
but then, we will see clearly, face to face.
Now I know somewhat,
Then I will know completely–
so much that I will even know myself
as I am known.
(paraphrase of 1 Cor. 13:12)
It’s January in Minnesota, and today’s weather dipped into the dangerously cold zone, so frigid that school was called off because children would likely get frostbitten just waiting for the school bus.
I’ve been keyboarding away on my computer since early morning hours, by the light of the half-moon, when suddenly I noticed the sun was up and forming this pattern on the drapery:
When I pulled back the curtains, here’s what I saw:
(window plus storm window–click to enlarge)
For a time, I just took in the beauty of the ice crystals sparkling in the sunlight, and then grabbed my camera. I call this “God’s Artwork”:
(Click on photos to enlarge.)
After taking many photos, I noticed a rainbow effect in the sky parallel to the sun, and began to search for a “sun dog.” I didn’t get to see the sun dog because I went nearly half blind trying to look for it in all the glare. (No wonder St. Paul fell to the ground after seeing the Light of Christ in a vision. I felt fairly disoriented while I waited for my eyes to readjust.)
Here is a “sun dog” photo I took in December:
We often think of Christ as the “Light” of God who came into the world. Early Christians sometimes compared God the Father to the sun, and Christ as the divine ray of sunlight sent to earth to bring us new life.
My experience of seeing shadows of ice crystals through the curtain — a sort of “veil”–and then seeing the beauty of the frost directly, and finally the sun beyond (practically blinding me–I’m still not really “seeing” the sun), reminds me that there is much to know about God, and much to experience of God’s presence. Even the most Spirit-charged experiences in this life are nothing compared to what we can expect in the next life.
In Chapter 13 of First Corinthians, Paul writes about this pattern of spiritual growth: “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things” (vs. 11) Then he turns to his belief about the future:
For now we see in a mirror [or glass], dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. (vs. 12)
Paul is reminding us that there is so much more to come. Even if we have come to Christ, prayed, studied the bible, attended worship services, and experienced the power of the Spirit in various spiritual gifts, there is still more for us to discover about God–and experience one day in God’s presence in heaven.
I think that is Good News.
Until next time, Amen!
Julie McCarty is Easter’s “Spiritual Director in Residence.” Read more about spiritual direction under “connections” at www.easter.org