Children have a great capacity for wonder, unlike jaded adults with a lifetime of disappointments and dashed expectations. So, then, it’s all the more awesome and magical when life does sometimes reveal a brief glimpse of grandeur.
It happened once, years ago, that we had arranged a lunch date with one of our producers. This kind of kibitzing was fairly common in business. As he was from the Port Colborne area, we agreed on a restaurant of his choice in that area.
First impressions were definitely underwhelming. The building looked like one of those corner variety stores, and its white aluminum siding apparently had seen better days. At best, it seemed we could expect a country diner. Instead, when we walked inside, we found an elaborate mosaic of tiled floors, the dark paneled wood siding reminiscent of an English manor house, multi-hued stained glass, a large aquarium with all kinds of exotic tropical fish. It was all the more stunning because we didn’t see it coming. It was a hidden gem.
Because we are human, we are often deceived by the humbleness of an exterior. We don’t see the treasures within, and so pass by. On the inside of its rough shell, the oyster contains the pearl.
When you saw Israel’s tabernacle, built according to God’s elaborate and exacting specifications, and symbolic of His presence with them, you would have never guessed at the interior beauty. On its exterior, the tent was covered by three layers: goat hair, ram skins dyed red, and the hides of sea cows (likely manatees). Few people ever saw the interior Holy Place, and only one priest, once a year on the Day of Atonement, could enter the Holy of Holies. It had to have been awesome, a golden ark and mercy seat overshadowed by golden angels. On its entrance curtain and the interior linen ceiling were also cherubim, elaborately embroidered in colours of blue, purple and scarlet.
Jesus himself tabernacled among us as an ordinary person. In his physical appearance, there was nothing spectacular to indicate his divinity, so many never recognized it. But at his atoning death, this curtain at the entrance to the Holy of Holies was ripped from top to bottom, a symbol of the access he had gained for those who longed for closer communion with God.
Steve Jobs was a technological pioneer, a creative person who discovered so much during his lifetime. Yet, in her eulogy, Steve Jobs’ sister, Mona, talked about his last words: “Oh, wow! Oh, wow! Oh, wow!”
As beautiful as this world can be it offers only glimpses. It’s only a beginning. God has prepared, for those who love him, what “eye has not seen, nor ear heard, or human mind can conceive.” With the angels, we stand on tiptoe in longing, hope and anticipation.