My Favorite Hymn

I want to walk as a child of the light. I want to follow Jesus.
God set the stars to give light to the world. The star of my life is Jesus.

Refrain:
In him there is no darkness at all. The night and the day are both alike.
The Lamb is the light of the city of God. Shine in my heart, Lord Jesus.

I want to see the brightness of God. I want to look at Jesus.
Clear Sun of righteousness, shine on my path, and show me the way to the Father.

I’m looking for the coming of Christ. I want to be with Jesus.
When we have run with patience the race, we shall know the joy of Jesus.

 

I am challenged to pick just one favorite hymn. As I reflect on some difficult experiences I’ve experienced lately, I find solace and hope through this hymn. As I sing it silently in my mind, or by myself in the car, I find that the refrain stirs some foundational part of my faith. In Him there is no darkness at all. The night and the day are both alike. I cannot fight the darkness, I cannot send it away, and it is inevitable for all of us. Yet, through the eyes of my faith, I can see growing light in the distance, drawing closer and illuminating my path as I walk through this present darkness.

We ever seek to understand how a loving God can allow such bad things to happen. Yet, my theological grounding teaches me that God is for us, and with us in every thing. We are not alone. And my faith enables me to trust that promise. My friends and loved ones may not be able to change my circumstance, but as they sit with me in my grief, or walk with me along an uncertain path, I really can process the reality of my situation. Because the answer is not so much in changing my situation, but in my heart making peace with it, and in knowing that what seems like an eternity to me is but an instant for God. When we have run with patience the race, we shall know the joy of Jesus.

And the imagery of this text especially resonates for me. Light has brightness, warmth, and energy. With light we see life in its blooming. Similarly, a favorite Christian rock song of mine tells of God that “You shine like the sun in all its strength.” As God is bigger than us, light is bigger than us, and bathes us in its fullness. It’s visible, and tangible – we feel it just as we see it. “The brightness of God”, “Clear Sun of righteousness”, “God set the stars to give light to the world.” This week I recall one morning, when I woke to a chill in the air as I often do. When I went out to get the morning paper, I could feel the warmth of the sun in spite of my chill, and it was better.

And though I’m stretching to a second page, I feel compelled to add one last observation. Darkness speaks to our experience of the world and its lies. The world teaches us that the forces of nature, the injustice of institutions, and widespread corruption will dominate us, and will swallow us whole. All of culture is going to hell in a handbasket. Of course, notice how talk always seems to be about the future, as if to divert our attention from the reality of right here, and right now. We fear the future as if right now were at all acceptable? But Valpo taught us that “in Your light, we see light.” The eyes of our faith give us hope as we see real examples of gospel being proclaimed, and the Holy Spirit active in people around us. The United Church of Christ has the fantastic slogan “God is still speaking.” Our situation is not hopeless. In spite of my worst despair, death is no more, and in light I can see it as clearly as I see my own two hands doing Christ’s work.

 

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