Did you ever have one of those kaleidoscope toys? It is made up of three mirrors positioned inside a tube so that they each reflected the other two. Inside are some coloured beads so that as you turned the tube you saw different endlessly reflected patterns.  Because of the way the mirrors were positioned you got the repeating pattern. I think I may have had one as a child. The last time I saw one was in a science museum although this one had much larger mirrors and no beads. You could put your hand in or even look inside. It made an interesting pattern when I tried to take a photo of it with my camera. I left the flash on – and here’s the result. kaleidoscope - Tenerife Science Museum October 2011

And this piece of art was made using recycled and discarded materials.   Not one of my favourite creations but I had fun playing around with the theme of reflections.

When the apostle Paul wanted to explain to the Corinthians the effect that God’s Spirit has on Christians he uses an analogy with reflections in a mirror.

“We see the glory of God and reflect it like in a mirror and are transformed from one degree of glory to more glory.” (2 Corinthians chapter 3 verse 18) At the clergy conference last December we were given one way of understanding this verse. Imagine two mirrors facing each other so that whatever is reflected in one is reflected back again to the other and then back again to the first – repeated again and again, like the kaleidoscope (above) or a hall or mirrors. Now, one of the mirrors is God and the other mirror is us standing in his presence: his glory is reflected back and forth stretching into infinity. And as his glory is reflected back and forth so we are changed more and more by him.

What is God’s glory? Well, in a way, the correct answer is “we don’t know”! But we do know that it is something to do with God’s awesome reputation. We also know what it is not: it is not dark, it is not tacky and cheap, it is not lightweight. Yet it is wonderful, brilliant and heavenly.

Now the thought that struck me the other day is that, if what Saint Paul said is still true, then we Christians today can also stand in God’s glory and be transformed by it.