If we have eyes to see, not all is darkness in this broken world. “Now and then, in some way or another,” Roy Anker says, “Light does flash inexplicably, sometimes blazing, as in Moses’ burning bush, or ‘like shining from shook foil’ (G. M. Hopkins). Most of the time, though, Light comes in flashes near the edges of vision, in a faint gleam, or in a tremor of color. Most often Light comes not as people would like—such as pure light spread sky-wide in bright neon dazzle— but refracted though an altogether different prism, one simultaneously more ambiguous and more personal, by means of touch or embrace, image or sign, glimpse or gaze, sound or music, beauty or horror, meeting or coincidence, forgiveness or blessing. The means are endless and always as new and unique as people themselves. In other words, when the divine does appear, it proves endlessly inventive and astonishing in the instruments of its showing.”
This is the mystery of the gospel, the grace of “being transformed into the same image [reflecting Christ’s light] from one degree of glory to another” (1 Corinthians 3:18). That it could be possible in someone like me is something I have to accept on faith.
It was Francis and Edith Schaeffer who first allowed me to see the glimmers of light that spoke of a deeper reality in life. I know they had clay feet, but that’s not the point. The point isn’t some sort of perfection. The point is whether there is a reflected light of grace, a grace in authenticity and safety, in listening and unhurried time, in hospitality and walking in a Story so compelling that it promises to satisfy our deepest yearnings and meet our deepest fears. A Christianity not of rules and pressure to evangelize and separation from people and culture and a brooding disapproval, but one where nothing matters except for Christ, and because of Christ, everything-everything—matters.
My prayer for myself this year is to ignore the deadly temptation of attempting to schedule blazing sky-spanning light shows and instead be content with the glimmers that defeat every attempt at planning. They are far more effective at dispelling the lurking shadows of this broken world anyway.