The Light That Is In You
The sun was shining today in Southwest Michigan. That doesn’t happen a lot this time of year, so everybody around here was very appreciative.
We all know how deeply we crave sunlight, especially when we’re deprived of it. We don’t just want to see it; we feel a need to get out into it. We want to make actual, physical contact with the sun’s rays. And when we don’t have a chance to do so for any significant length of time, we feel the loss.
Christ uses a number of powerful metaphors to describe the life that he offers, and here’s one of them. He promises that we can have the light inside us.
“Your eye is the lamp of the body,” he says. “If your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light” (Luke 11:34; Matthew 6:22 NRSV).
When I was a young man, I embarked on a flight during a blinding snowstorm. The weather was bad, but apparently not bad enough to ground us. So we took off, and I couldn’t see a thing outside the window of the plane. But in a matter of minutes, we got above the clouds, and — up there — it was a bright, sunny day. I shouldn’t have been surprised, but I was. I always knew in theory that the sun was there above the storm clouds, but its reality meant very little when I was in the middle of a blizzard. From that day on, I’ve always tried to remind myself that the sun is still there in the midst of any storm, both figuratively and literally.
But this scripture promises much more than that. It’s not just telling us to believe that God’s light persists even in moments of darkness. Christ is promising us that we can experience that light within ourselves. And that light will shine even on the darkest of days.
We’ve been going through some pretty dark days lately. As citizens of a free country, we Americans have a responsibility to keep up on what our elected officials are doing, particularly if we believe that our freedoms are being endangered. But I’m seeing a lot of foot soldiers faltering spiritually the past few weeks. I know I have been. As the storm clouds gather, it’s so tempting to fixate on the darkness. And the more we do, the more we are tempted to feel anger… and even hatred… toward those whom we identify as the enemy.
But as followers of Jesus Christ, we have a responsibility that far outweighs our need to keep up on the news. We are called to be the light of the world, but we cannot send forth those rays of light if they are not radiating from within us. It is our Number One task, through these dark days, to make sure that our souls are fed, and that the Light of Christ within us does not grow dim. Everyone around us needs us to keep stoking the flame of the Spirit within us. That’s the most important thing we can do now.
For it is not our light that the world needs, but His. We are the light of the world only because He is, if He lives within us. But if the light that is in us is darkness, then how great the darkness — both for ourselves and for those who are depending on us for strength and inspiration.
It was good to see the sun today. But I aspire, more than ever, to tend to the flame within, and to filter everything that happens through the light of the Son.