Many years ago we were on holiday on the Algarve. We’d actually just come out of a church service, and were walking to the sea, and there was a party of people posing for photographs. Chatting happily, the photographer was getting them ready, and what does he say when he is about to press the trigger?
What? We were taken aback, and chuckled away to ourselves. How it is that people in Portugal, and probably in other continental countries, say ‘cheese’ to produce a set of smiles on a photograph?
Having a lens pointed at you does produce a strange polarising effect. We often go into a photo pose, pout lips, present our good side, all kinds of things – some we are aware of, others not.
The camera, in its initial years, produced non-smiling stiff poses – it had to, because it took a while for the film to record the picture, and you had to stay still or be blurred. Not unlike having your portrait painted in pre-photograph days.
When I am planning a funeral, I sometimes ask, when we have finished sharing precious memories, where they picture the person they love, that says the most about who they were. Usually there is no delay in describing the picture they can see.
I suppose I am asking for their portrait. It isn’t a snap shot, it isn’t a posed picture – it’s what can be seen by those who know and love that person. It’s a true picture.
God has a picture of us. Revelation talks about crowns, and stones with a hidden name with which to be presented, and hints of God’s delight in those he has welcomed into his love. It is a picture that is real already for Him, and hopefully one that we begin to see more clearly ourselves. It’s an honest picture. It is the real picture.