~ What is Light? ~
"Jesus told us that God is light and doesn't have any darkness in him... If we live in the light, as God does, we share in life with each other." (1 John 1:5,7) "Everything that was created received its life from him, and his life gave light to everyone. The light keeps shining in the dark, and darkness has never put it out. God sent a man named John, who came to tell about the light and to lead all people to have faith. John wasn't that light. He came only to tell about the light, the true light that shines on everyone was coming into the world." (John 1:3b-9)
Being created in the image of God, it seems natural that people throughout all time remained intrigued by the magic of light... Explosive sunsets, starlight, soft candlelight, blinking fireflies in the summer night, fireworks, crackling campfires, Christmas tree lights, sunbeams through morning mist. But what is light, that it is used so frequently to describe God?
The number seven has biblical significance as representing divinity and perfection. There are seven colors in the light spectrum, and blended together create pure white light. And there's nothing you can do to defile light, unlike water or air. Light is energy and remains pure and untouched by whatever it falls upon, be it treasure or diseased garbage. Light exposes and reveals without being changed, but often triggers changes in what it touches: "I pray that you will be grateful to God for letting you have part in what he has promised his people in the kingdom of light. God rescued us from the dark power of Satan and brought us into the kingdom of his dear Son, who forgives our sins and sets us free." (Colossians 1:12) Darkness has no power over light.
The power of light to destroy darkness, to reveal all things as they are, seems so obvious to not need emphasis. Yet Jesus did need to crack a few absurdities to get people to pay attention by asking, "Who would light a candle then cover it over with a pot?" We evidently need the urging to turn on the light: "You used to be like people living in the dark, but now you are people of the light because you belong to the Lord. So act like people of the light and make your light shine... Light shows up everything, just as the Scriptures say, 'Wake up from your sleep and rise from death, then Christ will shine on you.'" (Ephesians 5:8-9a, 14)
Another characteristic of light is that it is a "universal constant" in the physical world. In Einstein's physics, light speed cannot vary one bit, so time becomes the variable. So at light speed there is no time passage, just as the divine Light is timeless, eternal. God, truth and light are changeless constants. "But everyone who lives by the truth will come to the light, because they want others to know that God is really the one doing what they do." (John 3:21)
That last statement is a profound declaration of a child of God. People who do evil are spiritually diseased, "dead in their sins" and should be looked upon as Jesus did, with the compassion as one would on someone who is physically sick or damaged. Those people are hurt, damaged, in their soul, being far worse than physically hurt. However, those of us of the kingdom of light will also continue to suffer pain and struggle in our spiritual growth until we are living completely in God's will. Problems come when we leave or rebel against His will and thus, like beloved children, we are chastised, redirected, pushed back into harmony.
This chastisement and pain is not the cross that Christ tells us to pick up and carry. Instead, that cross is our voluntary assumption of the cost to our self-centered preoccupations by sacrifice and opting instead to delight in being fully in His will for no motives other than "we love Him because He first loved us." "He who loses his life for my sake will gain it." So the cost is losing what we think is ours and replace it with faith -- total faith in God that He will bless us abundantly as we remain living in His will. That harmony with His will is the light God wants us to show the world, the light that "shows up everything." In return, "Christ will shine on you." What wondrous, exciting words; what an exquisitely life nurturing, heavenly experience... To have the Christ's pure, holy Light shining on me! Like all of His grace, I am not worthy of this, but I am eternally grateful!
John S. Hilkevich, Ph.D.
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Weekly Reflections © February 10, 2001
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