Saturday Sermon: Looking at my bathroom mirror
Each morning when I get out of the shower, the bathroom mirror is covered with steam. Each morning, I leave it there while I dry off. Why bring my reflection with all its imperfections into sharper focus?
There are other times when I need a clear view. I may even lean over the sink and squint. I may even be reduced to putting on my glasses to get a better look. I have noticed that while I may not see better, I certainly look better without my glasses. The lines and creases of many years blurred away.
My morning experience with my bathroom mirror is not so different from the way many of us, myself included, view our lives. Our daily concerns fog up our view of ourselves.
We may even become comfortable with that obscured view, choosing instead to see ourselves as we imagine ourselves to be. But still, seen clearly or not, we are the one standing at the sink.
It is hardly a blessing to be deceived, even by ourselves, of who we are and what we are about. I am not talking about physical appearance, of course. I am talking about an honest assessment of who I am, strengths and weaknesses, so that I may understand myself and what I should work to enhance and what I should endeavor to correct or improve. The mirror in my bathroom is there for my benefit. Only I can put it to proper use.
Lent is the time in the Christian year in which we wipe the fog off the mirror of our lives, put on our glasses and take a long, honest look. The purpose is not to be critical but honest and constructive.
During this time of reading, prayer, reflection, study and service, we can begin to take a better look at ourselves. We can dedicate ourselves to a threefold ministry of reconciliation. To be reconciled with God, with our neighbor and with ourselves (Matthew 22:34-40).
As we examine how we relate to God, to one another and even our understanding of ourselves, we find opportunities to grow. Have you ever had a pimple on the back of your neck? When you feel it with your finger, it feels the size of a baseball.
But if you hold up a mirror just right, you can see that it is very small, hardly a blemish at all. Honesty helps us see we are not nearly so bad as we imagine and that we are a great deal more capable of being loved and of loving than we ever dared hope.
At the end of our Lenten journey is Easter morning, the affirmation that God's love for us endures. Whoever you are, wherever you have been, whatever your faith - even no faith at all - may this time bring you the assurance that you are precious to God and you are loved. Thanks be to God.
The Rev. Daniel Fultz is the pastor of Grace Presbyterian Church.