For Now We See Through a Glass, Darkly
March 22, 2013
I’m writing from a seventh floor hotel room in Genoa, Italy. There were other days this week when I heard the bells, but today I looked out our window and saw them – past the chimneys, past the rooftop gardens, in a clock tower old and beautiful. The bells were swinging and ringing with an unstudied, unaffected joy.
During my college days in a Midwestern town, I found delight in the bell that rang each hour. No matter that it was really an eight-track projected from that clock tower on a hill; never mind that the real bell sat on display near the front steps below. I loved the sound, and felt my soul swelling at the idea of music high above.
I realize now that the measured tread of one recorded bell can never compare to the unsteady, lively cadence of real bells on a hill. I’m reminded of that verse in I Corinthians: “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face….” I believe that while we breathe on this earth, it’s as if we walked through a garden of silk flowers and silk trees. True green and growing things, with all their cunning details and luscious textures and overwhelming fragrances, await those who love God in the life hereafter.
Perhaps you, too, have had those moments when just a thought, just a stray feeling, opens wide your suspicion that we have not yet seen the full picture. Are there enough musical notes to express how I feel when I gaze on a sunset? Are there ever enough colors to show how love feels when it’s real? (And – blissful thought – human love is nothing to what will overtake us when we see the face of God.)
As I travel in a foreign land, I miss my home and the people there; I miss friends and family scattered far and near. I know that someday I’ll miss places like Genoa that have claimed little pieces of my heart. So, I look forward to that day when the glass becomes transparent and I finally see God’s love as the tangible thing it is. I know it will be just like coming home… to every home I ever knew.