Sunday, 2 January 2011

Let there be light!

Some days, like today, my understanding of scripture comes together. Most days, of course, my connection to scripture isn't there at all! My aim to read the entire Bible in a thematic way has been frequently interrupted by life events and small children in recent months, but I enjoy picking up the book when I get up in the morning. Still, it's the New Year and something different was on the cards. I have signed up for a new reading plan, that I can follow on Facebook, and access on the Bible Gateway website on my Blackberry wherever, whenever, and in the dark of our room where the baby sleeps if necessary - and it's already paying off and helping me further connect the dots.

I mainly forget to write stuff like this down, which is ridiculous, because it's so helpful in daily life, my theology studies, and in creating new conversational opportunities in a ten-year marriage ;-) I rarely blog the Biblical (especially not the Old Testament.) But as today is Epiphany Sunday, and I had my own epiphany of sorts about that star that the Magi followed, I'm shooting from the hip.

Genesis 1 tells us - God let there be light; he created light and dark. And as someone pointed out to me today, this was before the sun and the moon came about. We're not talking ordinary light here. We're talking goodness, glory, everything that is wondrous, glowing, illuminated, sparkling and joyous. Everything that counters evil. (Yes, he made the darkness too, which I have issues with, but there was light, a theme which resonates throughout the entire Bible.)

And resonate today it did. I managed to escape to an 8am Holy Communion service by myself. It was still pretty dark outside. And inside the church was wondrous. Not just the way it looked, the way it felt. The Advent wreath beautifully lit. Reflective light on the stained glass windows. The peace light from Bethlehem is still there. A small congregation, a spoken service, thoughts of the wise following that star.

The first reading - Isaiah 60. And there was that light again. (I'm quoting directly from Bible Gateway):

1 “Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the LORD rises upon you.
2 See, darkness covers the earth
and thick darkness is over the peoples,
but the LORD rises upon you
and his glory appears over you.
3 Nations will come to your light,
and kings to the brightness of your dawn.

4 “Lift up your eyes and look about you:
All assemble and come to you;
your sons come from afar,
and your daughters are carried on the hip.
5 Then you will look and be radiant,
your heart will throb and swell with joy;
the wealth on the seas will be brought to you,
to you the riches of the nations will come.
6 Herds of camels will cover your land,
young camels of Midian and Ephah.
And all from Sheba will come,
bearing gold and incense
and proclaiming the praise of the LORD.
7 All Kedar’s flocks will be gathered to you,
the rams of Nebaioth will serve you;
they will be accepted as offerings on my altar,
and I will adorn my glorious temple.

Right back then, they were waiting for a prophet. Waiting for those guys on camels to come bearing gold and frankincense. Waiting for that light. The light that is also foretold in the protoevangelium (the first gospel), of Genesis. The light which is to be found in Bethlehem, as Micah 5 tells us:
But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
though you are small among the clansb]">[b] of Judah,
out of you will come for me
one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old,
from ancient times.”

3 Therefore Israel will be abandoned
until the time when she who is in labor bears a son,
and the rest of his brothers return
to join the Israelites.

4 He will stand and shepherd his flock
in the strength of the LORD,
in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God.
And they will live securely, for then his greatness
will reach to the ends of the earth.

I'm just a Bible geek, but I love it when things come together. It enhances my understanding of Christianity, and joins up the prophets, the beginning, and the New Testament.

It's a New Year, and I'd really like to see more light. More peace in the world. More tolerance and understanding. More healing of the broken. More fulfilling of the needy. Continuing, spreading, strengthening that light. That's what I am praying for today.

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