July 2024 Pastor’s Corner — A Reflection or The Real Thing?

And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. — 2 Corinthians 3:18

Last Friday was a full moon.  I am always amazed to look outside in the middle of a clear night and see how bright it is during a full moon.  The moon shines so brightly, it’s hard to see the other stars in the sky, and sometimes it’s almost bright enough to read a book.  A few months ago, I was at the beach for the full moon and it almost looked like the sunrise (pictured on the left).  The moon is glorious in its own right, but it is ultimately lacking and inadequate.

The light of a full moon pushes back the darkness of the night, but only partially.  The light of the moon does not provide warmth, or life, or health.  It might be enough to see by, but just barely.  This is because the moon doesn’t have any light of its own; it is not the source of its light.  The light the moon provides is but a reflection of the real thing.  An amazing reflection, a brilliant reflection, but a reflection nonetheless.  I love the light of a full moon, but it doesn’t compare to the real thing.

The sun, on the other hand, is the source of the light the moon reflects.  When the sun rises, the dark is banished for as long as the sun is in the sky.  It is the light of the sun that warms the earth, that enables plants and life to grow, that provides nutrients and vitamins that are essential for our health.  Even the sunrise itself is degrees of beauty above and beyond that of the moonrise.  One can look at a full moon, but to look upon the sun is to risk severe damage to your eyes.  The glory of the sun is far beyond that of the moon.  The light of the moon is pretty neat, but it’s no substitute for the real thing.

There are many things that claim to be able to replace the light of the presence of God in our lives.  Money, possessions, people, things, and much more.  Some of those things are good and provide a pretty good reflection of God, but most of those things are cheap imitations that don’t actually reflect God at all.  Sometimes, because trying to look at the glory of God is as painful as trying to look directly at the sun, we’d rather have the reflection than the real thing.  It’s easier for me to look at what I believe about God rather than seek to be present with God.  But, even if my beliefs and theology are perfect, they are a mere reflection of the glory of God.  They cannot sustain, nourish, feed or warm my soul.  Only God can do that.  Imagine how much more harmful it is for us to choose the false reflections, the idols that claim to be able to replace God in our lives.  It’s like trying to replace the sun with a flashlight.

This morning I sat outside on our deck reading my Bible and praying as the sun rose over my neighbor’s house.  A cool, almost chilly morning was instantly warmed, the dew almost immediately evaporating.  I was struck by how often I choose the things of God instead of the presence of God, let alone the false idols that claim to imitate and reflect the warmth of God’s presence over the real thing.  Jesus Christ came and died so that we could behold the glory of the Lord directly.  Don’t settle for a poor imitation or reflection when the real thing is available to you.  Seek the presence of the Lord and behold His glory, so that you may be transformed by Him.

Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. — Hebrews 10:19-22


Rev. David Garrison