I COMPLETED THIS Watercolor more than a decade ago. My reference was a photo I took of this window in my sister-in-law’s home while we visited her in Richmond, Kentucky.
I chose it for Art today to accompany the Thought—Transparent—for two reasons: First, it features looking through the transparent glass of a window. Secondly, I was drawn to the bright red brick surrounding this attractive window shape.
TRANSPARENT MEANS: ‘showing light through’, ‘come into sight’, ‘appear’ from early 15th century Latin.
Metaphorically, today when a people lose confidence in their leadership and systems, there is a public outcry for more ‘transparency’. Their suspicion is that something wrong is taking place in secret, behind opaque doors, that the public should be made aware of.
Literally, transparent brings to mind my school days in the 1950s when I was first introduced to overhead projectors in the classroom. The projectors work by emitting light from a bulb through a transparent sheet (typically acetate or sometimes polyester) onto a screen. I used them for many years in church classroom teaching and seminars.
Transparent Jesus Followers
RECENTLY, MY ‘reading & Psalm 46:10 time’, drew me to the word ‘transparent’ for today’s blog. Meditation on the word filled a couple pages in my yellow legal pad with thoughts, insights and scripture. I began to consider followers of Jesus like God’s unique transparencies. So, what do I mean by this?
God loves the world (Genesis 1:31, John 3:16) that he brought into existence. I believe one way God expresses love toward humankind is by delegating responsibility for care of his creation under his leadership. Humankind was brought into a serving kind of apprenticeship under God’s love for all his creation.
IN MATTHEW 28:18-20 Jesus instructed his followers to make disciples (students) of God’s will in this world (John 1:1-5). I see followers of Jesus like individual overhead projector transparencies. Each imprinted with a unique configuration of ‘natural’ and ‘spiritual’ grace gifts. God is the light source (1 John 1:5). As the light of God’s love passes through the transparencies of individual gifted follower (Matthew 5:16), God’s love is projected through them by their words and works to the world—their sphere of influence.
In the Watercolor above, when the glass is clean, fullness of the light inside is bright and clear to all observing the image. Followers of Jesus are not in charge of the light source. God is. His light of love is perfect. Followers of Jesus do have control over the transparency of their life: self-control (Galatians 5:22).
I BELIEVE THAT, by God’s grace, followers of Jesus have the capacity to enhance the power of God’s projected love through the transparency of their life in two ways: First, keep enriching the intensity of the grace gifts, on the transparency of one’s life, by engaging with a protocol of learning more about the Trinity and creation through study and observation. Secondly, keep the transparency clear of distractions that block God’s light of love from being projected in its fullness, by confession and repentance. Be honest.
“According to legend, British conductor Sir Thomas Beecham once saw a distinguished looking woman in a hotel foyer. Believing he knew her but unable to remember her name, he paused to talk with her. As the two chatted, he vaguely recollected that she had a brother. Hoping for a clue, he asked how her brother was doing and whether he was still working at the same job. “Oh, he’s very well,” she said, “And still king.” Honest transparency might have been a better approach!
THE GREATEST OUTCOME, when followers of Jesus practice the ‘Great Commission’ Jesus articulated in Matthew 28, is when those around them see the good works God is projecting through their lives, eliciting a response like those in John 12:1. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.”.
In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16
You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16
…for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.
 Our Daily Bread, Thursday, March 4, 2021