Tim Keller in his book on marriage talks about the “great horizon”. He explains how if you have ever driven through the Smokey Mountains or walked in the great Alps or crossed the Rockies when it is foggy and cloudy, you cannot see the magnificent peaks. You may catch glimpses here and there as cliffs tower over you but to see the whole mountain on a rainy day is rare. When I lived in Washington on a clear day you could see Mount Baker and even Mount Rannier. Most days the peak was covered in clouds. On the sunny days we would say, “look, the mountain is out!” Then a couple of hours later clouds would roll in and it would vanish.
Tim Keller says that’s what it is like to get to know a Christian. We have an “old self” and a “new self (Eph. 4:24). The old self is crippled with complaints, anxieties, and bad habits that entrench character flaws. The new self is still you, but you’re liberated from sin and besetting flaws. The new self is a work in progress and sometimes the “clouds” of the old self make it almost invisible. Then, hopefully, more often than not, the fog clears and people see what God is creating within you afresh. There are glimpses of who you are becoming and where you are headed.
This is what it means to fall in love. It is to look at another person and get glimpses of the person God has brought to you. A man or woman can look at their bride or groom and say, “I see what God is making in you and it excites me! I want to be a part of that!” “I want to partner with you and God in the journey God is leading you on.” But, as so happens in our relationships, the good and the beautify mountain tops are hard to see. Then at the end of life, before the throne in heaven, it is all clear and you see your marriage partner and you exclaim, “I always knew you could be like this. I got a glimpse of it on earth, but now look at you!”
It seems to me this is how we are to be in fellowship together in church as well. Think about it. We have a great love and friendship for our church and its people. We see their beauty. But the rain, clouds and fog of life messes with our view and we may pass through without even seeing the real person. But as we come to church, enter into service and life together, we catch glimpses of majestic mountain tops. I’m thankful for the diversity in our church, the new faces, and each longtime member. Together, we have a delightful heritage and topography (Psalm 16:6). Let’s do church together as frequently as we can. There is something divine about our community of faith. We are still called to imitate Christ. I believe it makes us holy.
Anyway, that’s how I see it. – Pastor Pete