You could see every speck. Every wrinkle. Every stain. Every tiny little glaringly obvious detail in the man’s jacket. Right down to the crooked way his collar lay. Oh, it was so disturbingly obvious. So slap-you-in-the-face obvious how imperfect it all was on that big, high-definition screen. And it was on every TV in the store. I was trolling through the aisles at the big box store. Torn between my desire for that shiny new object everyone (simply everyone) has and a budget pulled so tight it has stretch marks. I couldn’t get a new TV. I shouldn’t even be looking at a new TV. But I couldn’t help. I couldn’t turn away from the clean, clear picture of the weatherman with his crooked collar. And the precise detailing of loose threads and wrinkles and specks. Everything crisp and bright and sharp. Nothing hidden, nothing camouflaged. Everything enhanced, everything magnified. And the collar begging to be straightened. The misplaced hairs waving around like sea anemones. All broadcast in high definition. It made everything so glaringly obvious. That’s what high definition does. That’s what we want from our TVs. Clear, precise pictures with all the gory details exposed right in front of us. Nothing blurred or fuzzy. Nothing romantic in the soft filtered light. We want it real. We want it more real than real. We want it all completely defined. It seems to be the way things are going. With TV, with movies, with everything in life. Definition is what we want and definition is what we get with innovation, advancement, and the benefits of the modern age. It’s what we are aim for with science and chemistry and physics. More definition. To see smaller and smaller atom particles and galaxies further and further away. Sharper understandings of our DNA, our hormones, our psychology. Things should get more defined. They should get sharper and clearer. Mystery should retreat. Knowledge should advance. We should get comfortable seeing every wrinkle. Every nuance. Every imperfection. We are deciphering the truth. You can’t handle the truth? That’s too bad. Because high definition is what life is all about. Definition is definitely something we need. We need clarity and education. We need truth and discernment and resolution in life, especially when for all the fuzzy things out there. All those things that have been used to keep others in the dark, superstitions and prejudices, shady practices and blurry morals. Life needs the definition of knowledge, the definition of integrity, the definition of justice. But the high definition of everything, every aspect of life? Is that what we really need? More definition. More analysis. We get so wrapped around details and perfection, around our need to know everything and see every possible frayed thread. Through our high definition window into the world, our TV, we see everything. We expect to see everything. All the details of every celebrity’s marital problems. All the graphic details of every steamy hook-up or violent bloodbath. Every CSI-style dissection and resolution of every problem under the sun. But there is something wonderful about things we can’t define. There is something holy about mystery. And we are in danger of forgetting that. There are things we don’t know about life, about one another, about God. There is mystery out there and in ourselves. There is mystery and fuzziness and there are answers that are not black and white or crystal clear. There are realities that will not fit into a little box that we mount on the wall. In our rapidly scrutinized and scrutinizing world, it is counter cultural to allow for mystery and the unknown. It is an act of faith, the belief in things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen (Heb 11:1). It is an act of grace, to allow for a space and room to breathe in the unknowing and mystery in life. And we need to ask ourselves what it is that we hope to see. For now we see in a mirror dimly (1 Corinthians 13:12). And that will be true no matter how much high definition our TVs get. But in God’s kingdom, by God’s love and grace and life beyond life, we shall see clearly, truly, definitively, face to face.