High-rise window reflections speak of the glory of God

COFFEE WITH WARREN, with Warren Harbeck
Cochrane Eagle, July 21, 2010

Windows in the twin towers of Calgary’s Western Canadian Place (top) enter into a dazzling dialogue of reflections while First Alberta Place looks on from a distance. Detail (below) shows windows reflecting windows, imperfectly but gloriously nevertheless. Photo by Fred Monk


“Just as one tower reflects the image of the other, we are called to reflect the image of the One who is much greater than ourselves.”
—Fred Monk

Photographer/priest Fred Monk has done it again, this time in a reflection on beautiful buildings and blessings. (See my column of Feb. 18, 2009.)

The former pastor of St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Cochrane, was passing through downtown Calgary midday this past April when one of the city’s distinctive architectural features caught his imagination.

“I was in town for the weekend to visit family and took a drive to see if there were any photo opportunities,” he said in a note about an image he e-mailed me. “When I saw the reflections in the windows of Western Canadian Place, I pulled into a parking lot a block away on 9th Ave. SW.”

With his Canon 5D Mark II camera in hand, he pointed its 24-105 mm zoom lens to the northeast and captured the reflections of countless panes of glass in dazzling dialogue between the north and south towers of Husky Energy’s head office complex.

In the resulting photo, the north-facing windows of the 31-storey South Tower are reflected in the south-facing windows of the 41-storey North Tower, with First Alberta Place, at the right, reflected in the west-facing windows of the South Tower. Because of warping in the individual panes, the reflections are imperfect, but when viewed as a whole, the effect is stunning.

Those mirrored panes hold a lesson for us, he said.

On one level, “good friends can act as mirrors for us and reflect our strengths and weaknesses back to us and help us to know ourselves more fully.”

On another level, “just as one tower reflects the image of the other, we are called to reflect the image of the One who is much greater than ourselves.”

Then alluding to his passion for making the invisible visible through photography, and inspired by the warped golden reflections that hint of divine glory, he added:

“Although our reflection of our God is imperfect at best, by our love, compassion and forgiveness we can make the unseen God visible to others. And the best part is, the more blessings we give to others, the more we get in return and the more opportunities we have to see the image of God reflected back to us.”

© 2010 Warren Harbeck

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