Gloryscopic and Mnemonic
I remember taking one of my sons to a national art gallery in Washington, DC. I love to paint, so I was personally excited about what we were going to see, but more than that, I was excited to give my son this awesome experience. I had a parental vision that he would have his mind blown and would thank me for what I had done for him that day.
As it turned out, he was decidedly unexcited. His mind wasn’t blown; it wasn’t even activated.
I saw things of such stunning beauty that brought me to the edge of tears. My son? He yawned, moaned, and complained his way through gallery after gallery. With every new work, I was enthralled, but each time we walked into a different room, he begged me to leave.
He was surrounded by glory but saw none of it. He stood in the middle of wonders but was bored out of his mind. His eyes functioned perfectly, but his heart was stone blind. He saw everything, but at the same time, saw nothing.
I’m sure many parents can relate to this story, but we all are guilty of doing the same with our heavenly Father, even though he designed the world in which we live to be a gloryscope..
Just as a telescope points you to the stars and magnifies them for you to see their illuminating glory, so the earth focuses our eyes on God and magnifies his glory so that it can produce wonder in us.
Every beautiful and amazing sight, sound, color, texture, taste, and touch of the created world has gloryscopic intention built into it. John Calvin said, “There is not one little blade of grass, there is no color in this world that is not intended to make men rejoice.”
No created wonder exists in isolation. Nothing that is, just is. Everything exists for a grand, vertical purpose – to help us see and celebrate the Creator.
Not only are we blind, but we can be incredibly forgetful. So God, in grace, also created the physical world to be mnemonic.
- The earthly father is a God-given mnemonic device to remind us of the heavenly Father;
- The shepherd is a mnemonic device to remind us of God’s care for his own;
- The snow is a mnemonic device to remind us of the Lord’s purity and holiness;
- The storm is a mnemonic device to remind us of God’s power and wrath;
- The daily rising sun is a mnemonic device to remind us of God’s faithfulness.
We’re literally surrounded by gracious reminders of the presence, power, authority, and character of God. He knows how quickly and easily we forget and how vital it is for us to see, so he embedded gloryscopic and mnemonic reminders everywhere we look.
I wish I could give you a set of practical instructions to cure this blindness and amnesia, but I don’t think it’s that easy. The only place to start is with a confession.
We must admit that we have cold, fickle, and often selfish hearts. We get so obsessed with our desires, plans, schedules, and accomplishments that we have little time for meditative reflection on the awesome glory that is ours to see and remember.
We have lost our wonder and, in so doing, have shrunk our souls to the size of momentary, earthbound hopes and dreams.
Perhaps the only thing to do today is fall on our knees before the Great Physician in humility, brokenness, and grief and confess the blindness and amnesia that eats away at our hearts.
Today, plead for eyes to see and a heart that remembers. Today, mourn how easy it is for you to forget God. Confess, and cry out for a changed heart.
When you and I begin to confess that we are the problem, we can run nowhere but to God’s arms of grace.
1. Identify something that previously would have excited you, but over time, has become boring or expected? (Your answer doesn’t have to be super-spiritual; it can be a mundane experience or simple delight)
2. Keeping that thing in mind, reflect on the following questions: What used to excite you about it? Why do you think you lost your wonder for it? Can you do anything to revitalize your excitement, or is it lost permanently?
3. What is your favorite theological mnemonic reminder that God has embedded in creation? What does it remind you of, and why do you need to be reminded of it regularly?
4. Consider other mnemonic reminders that surround you and choose to focus on one this week. Why do you need to be reminded of this, specifically now?
5. Memorize the following passages of Scripture, and meditate and what they say about the way God designed the created world to function: Psalm 19:1-4; Isaiah 6:3; and Romans 1:19-20.
6. Write out a confession admitting your spiritual blindness and amnesia. Be as specific as possible. Carry that confession with you and pray it throughout the week.