There are lots of different ways we see God.
I want you to imagine three things: a portrait, a mirror, and a window.
All of Scripture paints a portrait of Jesus. And He also uses his creation and His people to help us get a better glimpse of Him as well.
If you were to visit an art museum, you’d most likely encounter two types of people. Those that glance and those that gaze.
The people that glance, they stop, take a picture, or a selfie, check it off their list and move on … been there done that.
Then there are the people that gaze, they stop, take it in, pay attention to what stirs in them, they want to know about the artist who created each masterpiece. They spend time taking it all in, they linger.
If we’re talking about the portrait of Christ, Maya gazed, she stopped, took it in, payed attention to what stirred in her, she wanted to know everything thing there was to know about her Creator. She embodied Psalm 27:4
One thing I ask from the Lord,
this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the Lord
and to seek him in his temple.
And because Maya knew that she was made in the image of God, she knew she was fearfully and wonderfully made. She was a masterpiece. And because she knew and understood that about herself, it allowed her to see that in others as well. Whether with an old friend, or meeting someone for the first time, Maya gazed, she stopped, took the time, payed attention to what stirred in her, she wanted to know everything thing there was to know about that person.
We feel this so deeply because she always made us feel seen and known. Even those who didn’t have the opportunity to know her, just being here today gives you a profound sense of being loved.
Another way we see God is through a mirror. If we’re gazing upon the portrait of Jesus, we take on more and more of His likeness and begin to reflect His image.
When Maya looked in the mirror, she saw her curly brown hair and radiant smile, but she also saw a reflection of her creator. Because she spent her life gazing at Jesus, He transformed her from the inside out. Simply put, her life mirrored His. And isn’t that the goal?
Because she fixed her gaze on Jesus, and because her life mirrored His, she became a window through which we were all able to see Jesus.
Here’s a really cool story …
A couple of month’s ago, I was sharing these three things (the portrait, the mirror, & the window) with my high school guys bible study…many of whom are in this room.
I asked the question, “In your life, who is a window? Who lives in such a way, that through them, you see Jesus?” Without hesitation, one of the guys said, “Maya Handler!” We all agreed! In fact, Maya is a stained glass window because the light that shines through her life, lets us see the vibrant beauty of God’s love.
The way she worshipped, the way she loved, the way she surrendered, the way she lived … just like a sunflower, open for all to see.
Maya is a window, she helped us see God in her own creative way.
So to honor Maya, and the way she lived her life like a window, we thought it would be fitting to display a stained glass window right here at the school. So when we see it, as we pass it day after day, and look at it, now and for years to come, we’ll remember Maya, we’ll thank God for her life, and because she is a window that helps us see Jesus, we’re inspired to live that way too.
So this window that we’ll have here at the school with us, it’s actually a hand made reflection of an original. There’s a stained glass artisan that created an original, authentic, stained glass window of a sunflower, and Gary and Cindy, that original is on its way to you. And when you see it, our prayer is that you’ll remember that He is with you…we are with you, and Maya’s life is still a window, and even still today, we all still see Jesus through her life.
I’ll close with this scripture that adequately describes the way Maya lived her life…
14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16
Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.
We’ll close by doing what Maya loved to do most … worship.
-Eric Hill, 1/17/19
p.s. Eric and his wife Kristin are parents to three lovely ladies, one of whom graduated from LCA and two who are current students. Eric and Kristin are also co-founders of Withyou Mnistries. Eric shared this message during Maya Handler's celebration service at LCA on January 17, 2019. Our community was so moved by the way Maya lavishly lived her life for the pure glory of Jesus and by Eric's spot-on message, that we felt led to share the message again. We love you, Mighty Maya, and we cannot wait to see you again on the other side of heaven!