Menu of Meditations

The Reflection

The program was just ending. I had flicked on the TV to catch the next program and, as I settled myself in the chair, an image on the screen caught my eye. It was a portion of a house, two windows set in a wall. The picture was quite detailed, but there was something about the scene, something unusual, that made me study it carefully.

After a moment, a disturbance ran through the picture. I thought it might be electrical interference. It happened again, very subtly. It was as though the lines composing the picture had altered for a moment and then recomposed themselves. The phenomenon occurred several times. I wondered how something substantial like a house could waver like that, as though it were made of light rather than brick and mortal.

Then the camera started to pull back, causing the windows to recede into the distance. I watched intently, expecting to see more of the house. But the picture became more confusing. Instead of a larger area of the wall, I began to see objects alongside the windows that were not part of the house at all: shrubs, rocks, earth, grass.

As the camera continued to move backward, I suddenly realized that I had been watching the reflection of the house on the surface of a small pond. The disturbances in the picture had, of course, been ripples in the water. Eventually, the entire house emerged as the camera continued to widen its view. It was much larger and more beautiful than the tiny reflection on the pond had suggested.

As the scene ended, I could see the entire area: house, trees, grounds, pond. The house had become the major feature in the picture while the pond, although still visible, was a very minor detail. If I looked carefully, I could still distinguish on its surface the faint reflection of two small windows. What had once seemed to be the center of interest was now insignificant in the context of a much greater reality.

In just the same way, our religions are tiny and insubstantial reflections of God's truth.

Posted Feb. 1, 2004

Copyright: John W. Sloat 2004