Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Light and LIGHT

The first words God spoke (at least our first recorded ones), were "Let there be light." And by the end of the sentence, light was. Before He spoke, no light, by the time He stopped, light had turned on. This outshines Thomas Edison about the way the cosmos outshines a match.

We live in a world of physical light. Without it, we're doomed. Doomed to lose plants and water and every other thing necessary for life. In fact, doomed to fall off this planet and go hurling off into the darkness of space, which is just about the scariest thought imaginable (and whoever thought up the movie, whose trailer I recently saw, with that as the premise ought to be shot!). Anyway, my point is that God began where life begins--with light.

When Eve was compelled by the enemy to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, it was like she, and then Adam, sent themselves hurling into the darkness of space. It's an interesting thing. Genesis 3: 6 says she saw that it was "good for food, pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom." Huh. I am Eve's daughter as sure as I am anything. The best tasting food? I'm in, my mouth watering all the way. Pleasing to the eye? Yep, I'm certainly all about that, even as I 'try' not to be. And, most of all, desirable for gaining wisdom.' Gaining wisdom--this is my downfall. And, I dare say, the downfall of humankind. Indeed, the history of the world is about gaining wisdom, or knowledge (which isn't REALLY the same thing). Trying to know more, be smarter, be better and do good, to get a leg up. And somehow, there's a feeling in most of us that it's possible to become good human beings--better human beings--by knowing more. Or by looking better.

But God knew better. He knew that our eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was recipe for disaster. What Eve saw didn't include the dark side of knowledge, tastes and desire, did it? She only saw light. She'd never been in the dark, of course, and even the shadowy words of the serpent didn't mean much to her in the full sunlight of Eden.

But with one bite, she was plunged into darkness, Adam swiftly behind her. It was so dark for so long, that at times God despaired of the whole lot of us (see Noah), had to shine one small match on the whole earth (see the prophets!), but continued--over and over and over--to be faithful when His people were faithless. It's remarkable, thinking of God's long patience. We think we're patient when we pray for someone to come to Him for a few years. Imagine centuries of it.Yes, He got angry. He had reason to. But He never stopped holding out that promise-- "If you return to me, you stiff-necked people, I will save you."

And then the promise was fulfilled.

With words of LIGHT.
"The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it."
At the Incarnation, Light is new, spiritual, eternal. We need this LIGHT as profoundly as we need the light on earth. Inside us. There are two ways to think about this new LIGHT. First is in the overcoming of the darkness that is sin in our lives. We come to Christ, we are overcome by He who is LIGHT, and though we might sin again, we will never be overcome by darkness again because we are overcome by Light. Filled/flooded by Him. We're free from the bondage of sin and darkness. This leads me to the second way to think of light: Light as in the opposite of heavy. Whatever our lot or burden in life, once we are flooded with the LIGHT of Him (the Holy Spirit), that burden is lightened. Jesus promised this. We forget it but it's true. I should have it tattooed on my forehead so that when I look in the mirror I am reminded, "My burden is LIGHT."

And here's the really cool thing that I also forget: we go out into our corners of the world like a floodlight. Absolutely glowing of Him. That's what He intends, anyways. If you're in Christ's Body, and He's in you, there's LIGHT in you. No matter what. So square your shoulders, friends. Pay attention, because He's always about Lighting the world.

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