Sunbeams and Dark Shadows
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone. Isaiah 9:2
Let There Be Light
As I sat in church on Sunday, I saw the pastor struggling with the blinding beam of sunshine that was streaming through the upper balcony window. Like a spotlight directed onto his podium and in his eyes, the sunbeam made it difficult for him to look into the congregation. Although we welcome the longer days, this annual spring phenomenon makes the pastor, and us musicians alike, unable to really see much. It would seem that the addition of beautiful sunlight should make it brighter and lighter inside the sanctuary. However, while sitting in the front row during the sermon, I noticed how oddly dreary the church seemed. The once warm and cozy stage area was full of strange, dark shadows. The sanctuary, usually bright and cheerful, now sat under a dim haze of visible dust swirling in a strong beam of white light. Our lighting system seemed non-existent and failed to produce what, for months prior, was adequate, if not perfect, for us.
We’re good people…
But isn’t this how we are? Warm…cozy…adequate. We go about our lives trying to be good people. We’re kind to our neighbors. We don’t steal. Things irritate us or someone makes us mad, and we calm ourselves with the thought that we’re “glad we’re not them,” and go on with our day. We don’t do anything really wrong or bad. Compared to others, we’re nearly saints, aren’t we?
God sends His Son…
But then God sends His Son into our lives, and His light shines so brilliantly white that we are left with unlit places in our hearts: areas that are dark, hidden, and turned away from His goodness. What we thought was noble behavior now pales in comparison. We see that our human goodness is dusty and dark and far from sainthood.
Where does this leave me?
The beauty of God’s goodness is that it truly is perfect. And in His perfection, He doesn’t leave us in a comparison with Jesus that is set up for failure. He didn’t send Jesus to blind us with His radiance solely to cast dark shadows of judgement and condemnation. He sent his Son to illuminate us *through* Him so that our sins may be exposed with the opportunity to repent and be washed as white as snow. God gave his Holy Spirit to dwell within us so that we do not have to live with sin and dark shadows. We have the opportunity to see our errors, turn away and follow the One who loves us so much that He gave His life for us.
Embracing the Light
The next time you see a brilliant beam of light coming through a window, use the opportunity to turn all sides of your face towards it so no shadow is cast upon the other cheek. Open your heart so that His light doesn’t pass over you but shines straight in, obliterating shadows, darkness and sin.
This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 1 John 1:5