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Seems funny to title a post like this one on a blog called “Reflections From a Cloudy Mirror.” But today is Ash Wednesday, a time for pondering who we are, and who we could be, and where we are going; but primarily it is a time for reflection. Is the evidence of our faith reflecting brightly? Perhaps we think the unhappy answer is no. Perhaps what we think we are reflecting is our lack of faith or conviction by the ways we treat others and the ways we treat ourselves; sometimes that does not make a very bright reflection in our own eyes – sometimes we think we are invisible, but someone is making note of what you are reflecting – either family or friends, or people who will catch sight of you when you are unaware of it. Regardless of what we might think or feel: We are mirrors that brightly reflect who we are.

One of the lessons I attempted to teach the various children’s choirs I had the privilege to direct was that no matter how many of them were standing in front of the congregation or audience, there was always at least one person who was watching only them (and that did not include their family members!). It was always important, especially when singing music in church or a spiritual setting to show on their faces what they believed, whether they felt like it or not. (As I’ve said before: feelings change, God does not.) Singing about joy does not sound nearly as good if done with a blank or sullen face (or occasional scratching or nose-picking!). Reflect what you know to be true. Shine, Jesus, shine! And I humbly pray that it may be through each of us in all we do, say, or sing.

The following is a quotation taken from Nelson Mandela’s Inaugural Address in 1994. Outside of scripture, it expresses better than any other our responsibility and purpose as human beings:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear it that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you NOT to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

So on this Ash Wednesday, as Christians we are asked to prepare for the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. How does one prepare for Easter? There are many ways to get there, but one of the best ways is to spend time in personal, private reflection on how we show our faith and conviction to those around us – in public, as well as private. Is there enough bright, shining evidence in our lives that reflects our earnest discipleship? Or are we reflecting something else? Because we are all mirrors that brightly reflect who and Whose we are. So this “Cloudy Mirror” is going to attempt a little polishing this blessed Lenten season. Join me!