First things first, God created light. What a glorious moment that must have been!! “..and God saw that the light was good.” (Gen:1) Light is one of the major themes in Epiphany and this is one reason that Epiphany is one of my favorite liturgical seasons. Light has been getting first billing at FUMC lately. “You are the Light of the World” is our Epiphany theme.
Has anyone ever thought recently about this miracle of light? Light is such an integral part of our life that we easily lose sight of its innumerable practical and spiritual significance. Light enables us to live, learn, and find our way; it brightens our Christmas trees; it is a metaphor for a greater good that inspires and feeds our spirits. The story of light is a fascinating one.
Scientists have discovered all sorts of interesting facts about light, especially in the past century. Physicists over these last 100 years have pondered with very sophisticated mathematical experiments whether light is a thing or a happening. It travels 186,000 miles/SECOND, a figure used to measure cosmic distance. Curiously, light travels in a CURVE, not in a straight line. It is one of the few actualities that is not influenced by gravity. It is hard to keep up with how enlightened we have become about light. Light seems nearly incomprehensible. Perhaps if we begin to understand light, we might begin to understand the mysteries of God.
There are boundless sources of light for all of our needs: sunlight, moonlight, starlight, and firelight. There is fluorescent, incandescent, and now the preferred LED. Light gives access to books, meaning to the Word, and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Light is obviously a necessary element for our survival. Plants need light in order to grow. Psychologists have proven that people need a certain amount of sunlight to avoid depression. Whether man-made or God-given, we cannot exist without light in all of its derivations.
Light brings beauty to a stained glass window. Just at the precise minute one recent Sunday morning when we heard about the halo that surrounded Jesus’ head when he was baptized, the Sun radiated on Jesus’ head through the stained glass window in our sanctuary. It was a magnificent moment. Light can do that! Light manifests in a sunrise and a sunset. Light has fascinated artists and other curious people for a long time. The artists of the Impressionistic Era made light a central theme as they created their art. Light can fool our sense of reality. Ever been moved by a movie? A medium of light beaming on a white screen and sound waves forced through the air can powerfully move our hearts and imaginations. Let the moviegoer beware!
Salvation history is the story of a light blinking on and off for God’s chosen people. Then this light grows bright; God incarnates. “Light of Light” is how the Nicene Creed describes Jesus. Light is one of the themes for the season of Epiphany, the Church season we are observing right now. It’s no coincidence that the Church chose the time of the Winter Solstice, the darkest time of the year, to observe the birth of Jesus. Just like the wise men who followed the light of that intriguing star to Bethlehem, Christians too are guided by the splendid light — “Shine Jesus, shine”.
God gave us physical light by incantation; later he offered spiritual Light through an incarnation. Let’s close our eyes in prayer to see the Light.
Blessings of Light,