While wandering around the TV landscape recently, looking for something to watch, I stumbled across the picture of a window. It was nothing special – a regular-type window – and I had no reason to be interested in it. But something kept my attention glued to it for a moment.
As I watched, it suddenly shimmered slightly. This intrigued me; this seemingly solid window rippled and danced, as though it were made of light instead of wood. I wondered how this was possible.
Then the camera began to pull back and I became aware that the image I was seeing was the reflection of the actual window on a small puddle of water, and a breeze was stirring the puddle’s surface. The camera continued to widen its view until the side of the house came into focus, and I could see the actual window.
As the picture opened up even more, I could finally see the entire house, a beautiful southern mansion, white pillars, tiered porches, graceful roof lines. It was a magnificent estate, breathtaking in its landscaped setting. The window I had first seen was still visible, but it was the tiniest part of the entire picture, one which would attract no notice by itself, set as it was in a much larger, more beautiful whole.
It occurred to me that the mansion is the spiritual world and the puddle is religion. What we discuss in religion is a small reflection of spiritual reality, the tiniest piece of the whole picture, an attempt to describe that whole picture in human words and theology.
But human theology is like the image of a window on the surface of a puddle. When we focus on one detail, like the need to be “saved,” for instance, we are looking at the puddle instead of the house. We need to pull back and see the larger picture – read the current revelations, talk to people who have had experiences with the mystical side of life. There is much more to see than what we’ve been taught.
Don’t misunderstand me. There is nothing wrong with religion. It can show us a beautiful and appealing window into heaven. But it is insubstantial – it shimmers and ripples and makes us uncertain of what we are seeing.
God calls us to look beyond the puddle to see the amazing mansion that is the Kingdom of Heaven.
John W. Sloat 2013