God may be ineffable, but as the church we need to become the visible Jesus to the world.
I explained it like this to the children during our “Time for Young Disciples:”
The Trinity is hard for us to understand, right? Let’s think about it as if we are blowing bubbles. There is the wand, which represents our Creator who forms us and shapes us. The liquid is “Emmanuel” or the visible “God-with-us”; the skin that God put on Godself to be visible in the world through Jesus. The air we blow through the wand into the liquid is the Holy Spirit, the breath of God that moves and fills us and enables us to become what we are called to be.
It’s a silly metaphor maybe (and God knows the world doesn’t need another silly or faulty metaphor for the trinity), but what I really wanted to highlight is that you can have a bubble and it’s all good and well, but what really makes the bubble wonderful and beautiful is when the light is reflected in the liquid. It makes an iridescent reflection that is vibrant and visible (like the light of Jesus that shines out of our lives). If we are just mere humans and didn’t reflect any of God’s love for the world, this world would have no visible Jesus. See how that works?
It all really relates to how well we show the beauty of the love of God to the world. It’s our job; we are the post-resurrection Body of Christ that is visible to the world.
And what I’ve been noticing lately is that somehow that light isn’t shining brightly enough. Someone shared a statistic with me today that 22 veterans complete suicide daily. That’s an epidemic. It’s emphasized in the media any time someone famous completes suicide. People talk about it around the dinner table, and around the water cooler at work, and there are numerous opinions available on social media and radio and television talk shows. Maybe the one place that can really do something about it, and the one place where we rarely bring it up is church!
Our scripture readings from Luke and Corinthians both speak to this. In the Gospel reading, Jesus’ mother and brothers are concerned about his welfare: he is constantly healing people and not even finding time to eat. They “intervene” and Jesus pretty much says, “These people are my family now.”
Our Epistle reading is one of my favorites:
So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure, because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal.
For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens (2 Corinthians 4:16-5:1).
Don’t you just love that? “So we do not lose hope,” and “slight momentary affliction” are wonderful reminders to me that we live not for a temporary promise but for an eternal promise. I can honestly say I don’t know what that eternity looks like or when we actually arrive there on the life-death continuum. But I’m banking my whole life on some kind of eternity that’s better than this. An eternity where we are not so painfully far from our Creator.
We all have our ideas of what eternity will be like. Mine looks a little like a
floating on the light summer mountain air,
shifting reflections of the light
with every movement
and every moment.
So “I do not lose heart.” And I hope that we can inspire each other to reflect more light so that others may not be so inclined to lose heart.
May you find yourself reflecting the light of our savior, helping to add some beauty and whimsical love to this world in much the same way that Jesus did as he healed the broken hearted, and drew the outcasts back into community.