In the mirror- Religion column

Published 7:00 am Saturday, July 21, 2018

The ancient Egyptians relied upon polished copper to provide a reflection of themselves. The privilege was reserved for the most affluent and influential. The stereotype of Cleopatra, forever preening herself, in front of the devices of those days, has become the stereotypical visage of vanity itself.

The Greeks did not fare much better, although the use of mirrors began to expand to the then middle-class.

The Chinese elite used mirrors of polished bronze.

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Only when the Romans began to use metal backed glass did the beginnings of the modern mirror circulate.

Yet, the ability to see oneself often was only available to the masses in the reflection of a basin, or body of water. Imagine the experience to examine oneself in a blemish-free mirror for the first time. Imagine the shock to the fragile ego when the reflection was less than previously believed. It was after the 1830’s when we began to enjoy “modern” mirrors.

It has only been in the past 100 years, or so, that we have had the ability to mass-produce clear, flat glass. Up to this time, we had produced the wavy sort; replete with errant bubbles and flaws. Only with the advent of new glass producing processes have we been able to perfect our view.

Yet, while the reflection may have been perfected the receiver, of the view, has not.

In truth, the receiver has become more complicated, by being given more choices.

Buckminster Fuller commented that human knowledge had doubled each century since 1900. The pace had quickened to each 25 years, by the time of World War II. Recent analysis suggests human knowledge, on average, was on pace to double every 13 months; with a decreasing timeframe for the future.

Imagine doubling all of our human knowledge every year.

It is a staggering reality. No wonder we need computers just to keep up.

No wonder we have a hard time forecasting, what the future will be, say 100 years from now.

As hard as we try, the best we can do is, “see through a glass darkly,” as Saint Paul told the Church in Corinth.

Or pride, our prejudices, put shadows upon our understanding of ourselves and our world. Each of us has a diffused image of ourselves; who we are and our place in the God’s Universe.

Many try to address their relationship, with their Creator, with the same superficiality they see reflected, darkly, in the mirror.

The greatest failure is that the reflection does not reveal the true self; the true person within. Sadly, we may insist up deception, rather than truth.

However, God sees us with absolute clarity.

No matter how strenuously we delude ourselves and convince ourselves we may alter the reflection of the image of our soul, we cannot delude God. It is with absolute knowledge and wisdom that He knows us.

Our personal, internal mirrors need a regular cleaning. It is not enough to stand before it to understand our reflection with God, as we make many efforts to cloud our image.

We will never enjoy full clarity, until our day standing before Christ Jesus. In these intervening days, we are called to labor in our cleansings of thoughts, words, and deeds, so our actions may reflect His Commandments to us.