Light is an amazing word, and it is a word that keeps being brought to my mind these past few days. This past Lord's Day, my morning reading included Jesus' conversation with Nicodemus from the gospel of John, which Jesus concludes by saying, "He who does the truth comes to the light, that his works may be revealed, that they have been done in God." The scripture lessons for the day that were read in worship later that morning included a passage from Isaiah in which the prophet speaks of the people of Israel as being a "light to the Gentiles." Another of the lessons for the day included Jesus' words from the Sermon on the Mount recorded in the gospel of Matthew: “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven."
Looking around the church during worship, i thought of the word "light" and how often we use it in thinking of God. The space in which we worship each Lord's Day is built in the shape of a cross, and the eyes of those who worship are led by the building's architecture to a cross that hangs on the back wall of the church above the choir loft. The church was built in the early twentieth century in the Craftsman style, with plaster walls and light oak trim. Muted light passes into the room through lovely stained glass windows, and the feeling one has in the room is one of safety, or refuge from the cares of the world. Like another Craftsman-style church i described in an earlier post, it is a space that fosters congregational worship.
As i observed the effect of the light in the room, i thought of other places of worship. Some are dimmer, and the eyes of the worshipers are drawn to the lights of the candles on the altar. Others are brighter, with windows that allow brilliant light to stream in from outside during the day. Both types of lighting speak to us. The former help us to see that in the darkness there is a light shining, that no matter what problems we face God is there holding a light for us if we only look towards it. The latter remind us that as followers of Jesus we are a part of the world, that Jesus has told us to be a light in a world that is often filled with darkness.
May our day be lighted by the light God gives us and may we in turn be a light in the lives of those with whom we come in contact.