By Jerry Wicklein*
Light thinks it travels faster than anything, but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it. –Terry Pratchett, Reaper Man.
And this is the way it all begins:
God said, “Let there be light.” And so light appeared. God saw how good the light was. God separated the light from the darkness. God named the light Day and the darkness Night.
There was evening and there was morning: The first day.
“Earth was a soup of nothingness, a bottomless emptiness, an inky blackness.” (The Message) God created light to disrupt the primaeval darkness and provide a rhythm for living.
The rhythm of light and darkness, day and night, provides a pattern for living. There is a rhythm in creation guided by light: the setting and rising of the sun, the phases of the moon, the passing of the seasons.
The light that disrupts calls us to awareness of our surroundings and of others on the journey.
How to tell night from day...
The teacher sat around a blazing fire with a small number of students late at night. Their meandering conversation was broken by periods of silence when they gazed at the stars and the moon.
The teacher asked... “How can we know when the night has ended and the day has begun?” Eagerly, one student answered: “when you can look off in the distance and distinguish your dog from the sheep.” Another student offered: “When light falls on the leaves and you can tell whether it is a palm tree or a fig tree.” The teacher said: “These are fine answers, but I believe that when you look into the eyes of a human being and see a brother or sister...you know that it is morning. If you cannot see a sister or brother... it will always be night.”
The light that disrupts draws our attention to the mystery and wonder of God.
As a child, I would often visit my grandmother. My favorite times were when she would take me to a little hill near her home and we would lie down under a big tree and look up at the light dancing through the leaves and limbs of the trees. This sanctuary of the trees became a place of wonder and pilgrimage through the seasons.
With each season, the dance of the light revealed different things depending on the time of day, the clouds that would pass over, and even my mood.
Now almost seven decades later, I pause and take time to see the light dance among the leaves in other places, creating space and shadows. I thank God for the Word that created light.
And with the disruption of the dark, light brings gifts for us.
It is the light of creation that allows us to experience the landscapes of our living.
To see the way ahead.
It is light meeting objects that creates shadows that give depth to life.
It is the reflection of light that brings colors to life.
Light, especially from the sun, promotes growth and life.
And it is often in the darkness of night that we yearn the most for light to break forth. It is the witness of others that can bring light into our lives in unexpected moments and events. It comes from those persons who fulfill the words from Matthew’s gospel: “You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world.” (The Message)
Like the first light of creation, the first light of faith brings color, depth and clarity to life.
As faith is nurtured by those who bring light into our lives, we read again the words of Jesus: “I am the world’s Light. No one who follows me stumbles around in the darkness. I provide plenty of light to live in.” (John 8:12, The Message)
The always available light of the Son brings hope and vision as we consider the landscapes of our lives.
With the light of faith, the landscape of our living takes on more definition and is transformed.
Through the lens of faith, we can see more clearly the way ahead.
The light of faith lets us walk through the shadows with more confidence.
Lighted by faith the colors of life have more brightness.
The light of faith encourages growth and action.
It is this light, the Light of Jesus, that brings new steps to the dance and with these words the dance of life takes on new meaning: Jesus said, “I am the light of the world,” and “Lo, I am with you always.”
May the blessing of Light be on you
Light without and light within,
May the blessed sunlight shine on you,
And warm your heart till it glows like
A great peat fire, so that the stranger
May come and warm himself at it.
And may the light shine out of the two eyes of you,
Like a candle set in two windows of a house,
Bidding the wanderer to come in out of the storm.
*Jerry Wicklein is a retired Elder in the Baltimore-Washington Conference.