Today’s scripture readings seemed pretty unrelated on first read. However, as is often the case, when I read through a second time, a theme of light and relationships jumped out at me. In speaking to his brothers and sisters in Corinth, Paul says that God is not yes and no, but always yes. God is faithful to His promises. The psalmist asks the Lord, let your face shine on me, teach me your statutes. The psalmist proclaims that the revelation of God’s word sheds light, and gives understanding. In the Book of Matthew, Christ says to the disciples, “You are the light of the world. Your light must shine before others.” An interesting mix of scripture.
I met my wife 30 years ago. We will celebrate our 27th wedding anniversary this year. I love my wife. I mean, I really love my wife. She is a gift from God. She was made for me. She is loving, kind, compassionate, passionate, beautiful, joyful, full of life, you name it. I like to talk to her, I like to touch her, I like to hear her voice, I enjoy being around her. I love to just look at her. When I am down or depressed, I think of my wife’s eyes. They are incredibly beautiful. Sounds pretty idyllic, doesn’t it?
I met my wife 30 years ago. We will celebrate our 27th wedding anniversary this year. I love my wife. We’ve had our share of financial struggles, arguments over child-raising and some pretty intense disagreements over life in general. There have been times where I have said cruel and mean things to my wife. Times I have ignored and did not talk to my wife. Times where I did not want to see her. Times where I did not even want to be in the same room with her.
How can this be? Why would I treat someone I love so poorly? Is there something wrong with me? Am I some kind of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde husband? Is this how I treat God? Paul points out that we can be yes and no in our relationship with God, but God is always yes. When God’s love is always available to us, why would we ever say no? When a close and loving walk with God is so rewarding, why would I ever say no to the opportunity? It seems ridiculous to say no to God’s love and yet I do it. Why? I’m too busy, I don’t feel close right now, relationships require an effort, faith is a challenge. All those excuses seem so hollow and lame and yet I know I use them. It’s like being offered a wonderful gift and then turning it down. Why would I do that? For what possible reason? I wish I had the answer to that one.
And why does it matter if we let our love/light shine before others or not? At a recent parent-teacher conference, the teacher told me she had asked the students what was the best thing their father had done for them. I expected the answer to be, he reads to me, he plays with me, he gives me an allowance or whatever. My son answered, “he loves my mom”. Once again, it takes a child to help me see the light.
God loves us with a passion. If I am indifferent to Christ, it shows. God loves us with a passion. If I love Christ with a passion, I will shine. People will see that light and want to know about it. It isn’t always easy to obey Christ’s command to let our light shine. It can be rewarding, but it can also be embarrassing or even result in persecution. My prayer today is for all of us who need strength and encouragement to let our light shine.
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