At the top of a long, winding stairway, a floor to ceiling mirror reflects the beautiful entryway of my daughter’s Victorian home. Children run up and down, whizzing by the flawless mirror, unaware of its fragile nature, unconcerned with the consequences of one false step. Suppose that the unimaginable happened; the falling glass, the rain of broken shards, the spot on the wall hideous and empty. Looking at the jumble on the landing, my daughter might think the mirror completely lost, beyond repair. But, what if she decided to reassemble the mirror? She might take each sliver of glass and carefully find an adjoining piece, gluing it together, slowly recreating the mirror one piece at a time. After many months, the task might be complete. Once again, the mirror would stand at the top of the landing, the children whizzing by, reflecting the majesty of the beautiful entryway. “But,” you might say, “The mirror could never be the same.” It is true. No matter how beautiful the scene to be reflected, unsightly lines would run across the otherwise picture perfect reflection. No matter how carefully my daughter worked, no matter how patiently or precisely she reconnected the pieces, the mirror would never again be perfect. If she told you that she expected it to be perfect, without any blemish, you would think her quite unrealistic. While any given piece would give a perfect reflection, the mirror, as a whole, could not. The reconstructed mirror would be a marvel of commitment and ingenuity, but it would always be a broken mirror.
In the world, we will have tribulation, and that tribulation shatters human hearts, minds and bodies. No one who travels through this world is immune to its turbulence, its cruelty and its sorrow. The sin of man moves through humanity like a drop of ink through water. Emotions become confused, twisted and misplaced. The will becomes frozen, locked into patterns that isolate and enslave. Thoughts of doubt, fear and untamed fantasy fill the mind. When the Holy Spirit takes up residence, a process of reconstruction begins. Slowly, carefully, patiently He creates a new person, one sliver at a time. Each piece, when renewed by the Spirit, reflects the grace and mercy of God. However, we reflect God perfectly, in part, but never in whole. The lines of our brokenness stretch across our lives, marring the perfect vision of Christ.
How strange it is when we expect that a collection of broken people will somehow not be a broken collection of people. The church is a reflection of Jesus Christ. Indeed, it is His Body. It consists of millions of broken pieces, lives torn apart and put back together. When you see Christians gather, that broken mirror assembles itself to glorify God, to thank and worship Him. Do not be disappointed when the church fails you, when the image of God reflected in their lives becomes blurry. Stretching across their lives, which now reflect the glory of a risen Savior, stretch lines and cracks, the imprints of a thousand gentle touches of God’s hand, carefully and patiently mending the shards of broken lives into the broken reflection of Christ.