But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” – Ephesians 5:13-14
Thursday, January 7, 2016
A World of Shadows
Everything that becomes visible is light. I know I have commented on these two verses before, and the idea fascinates me. It often seems we live in a world of shadows. We have probably all been out in the woods before dawn or as the sun goes down and seen things that ought not be there. Stumps and broken snags become ogres and trolls. Apparitions arise from a clump of weeds shifting and moving in the wind.
The world system – that which is not the kingdom of God, is a shadowy place as well. Lies shade the lifeless and impotent, causing frightful creatures to dance before our eyes. I wonder if God didn’t destroy Sodom and Gomorrah by suddenly pulling back the cloak of darkness, pretense, bluster, and self-deception behind which the inhabitants lived. They were already pillars of salt. The light destroyed their illusion of life.
I know that’s more or less what happened to me. I wasn’t a bad man who became good. I was a dead man who came to life. I was a pillar of salt hoping it didn’t rain. I knew in my heart what I was, but, like a lot of people, I could hide it from others, though mostly from myself, most of the time.
It’s a funny thing about Jesus as you read the Gospel accounts. The prostitutes, the tax-collectors, the rejected dregs of society ran to Him and followed after Him. The rich young ruler came to the Lord, thinking that he would be accepted, applauded, and approved for his virtuous activities then went away saddened; the covetousness he had hidden from himself was made plain in the light of Christ. Religious and political leaders, the wealthy and the well-educated, in many cases, erected against Jesus a barrier of arguments, perceived offenses, and violations of law or protocol to keep out that light.
There are cases where our faith is going to legitimately and unavoidably cause contention. We ought to be walking in the Light with the Light of Christ shining through us. When we go into a dark place or around fallen or backslidden people, sometimes we are going to get the sense of rats scurrying for cover to avoid exposure. But we, too, are a long way from perfect, and we should be careful that we’re not deliberately or pointedly contentious and using Christianity as an excuse. I think far more people are drawn to saints than are offended by them. Those sleeping often want to wake.