Light Exposure


Long-exposure Star Photography, by Lincoln Harrison
Long-exposure Star Photography, by Lincoln Harrison

Scripture Text:  Ephesians 5: 8-14 (Lent 4A)

For once you were darkness, but now in the Lord you are light. Live as children of light— for the fruit of the light is found in all that is good and right and true. Try to find out what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what such people do secretly; but everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for everything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Sleeper, awake! Rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”

This passage essentially contends that to “walk in the light” means that we are no longer naïve.  It is not about being happy or “blessed” in terms of how this world sees “blessed”.  The world is illumined by our faith.  We now must own a commitment to justice and compassion for all of Creation.  Light is goodness and justice and truth.  It is not about merely living a moral and righteous life; it is about witnessing to the light that is Christ.  Light and darkness cannot exist together.  As the passage says, light makes all things visible and then all things visible become light.  The Light of Christ makes that on which is shines light itself.  The passage exhorts us to wake up and see the light and then live as children of that light;  in essence, we are called to become light.

I don’t really think of this light of Christ as a bright, blinding spotlight.  It’s really much more nuanced and subtle than that.  Think illuminating, rather than blinding.  And it doesn’t dispel or destroy the darkness but rather illumines it.  It casts a different light, a light that illuminates all.  God, with infinite wisdom, gave us the power and the desire to see through the darkness and glimpse the light shining through, to see the Light that is Christ.  It is a light that is always present regardless of our view, that exposes all that is visible and makes that on which it shines light itself.  There is a Maori proverb that says “turn your face to the [light] and the shadows will fall behind you.”  They are not consumed; they are still there, light streaming into their midst.  Shadows do not exist without light.  Light is what makes them visible.  We are like that.  Exposed by the Light of Christ, we become visible; and by becoming visible, we become light, children of light, images of the Light that is Christ, the Light that is God.

Light exposure changes the thing that is exposed.  When something is exposed to light, it takes on some of those light particles.  Colors lighten and change.  We are no different.  Faith is about light exposure.  When exposed to the Light that is God, we change.  We take on part of that Light.  We become a ray of that Light, a light that becomes visible to all.  We are not meant to live in darkness.  We are created to be children of Light.  We are created to be changed.  There is still darkness.  There are still injustices and prejudices and suffering and pain.  There are still parts of the world begging for Light.  That is where we come in, those who have been exposed, forever changed, and who can do nothing else but shine forth.
I cannot create the light. The best I can do is put myself in the path of its beam. (Annie Dillard)
On this Lenten journey, there is darkness all around.  Go and be Light.  Be that to which you have been exposed.
Grace and Peace,

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