Saturday, 13 June 2015

The Sweet Light of Summer: a By the Way column for the Medicine Hat News

Summer is almost upon us. The days are getting longer. “Light is sweet,” wrote “The Preacher” in Ecclesiastes, “and it is pleasant for the eyes to see the sun.” (Ecc 11.7) Pleasant, indeed. There is lots to look at and enjoy; the fresh green of new growth, bright blooms, holiday views that stir and delight.

“The eye is the lamp of the body,” said Jesus. “So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light.” (Mt 6.22) Shakespeare must have been thinking along the same lines when he wrote, "The eyes are the windows to the soul." Those windows are what let that sweet light in. What I look at and where must be important. It will affect the light level in my soul.

It follows, therefore, that Jesus, the Light of the World, is The One to whom I must first look for the best way to keep my eyes healthy and my soul full of light. Where did he turn his eyes? He lifted them to heaven. Often. Jesus looked to heaven when he prayed the blessing over the loaves and fishes that miraculously fed the five thousand. It's where he looked just before he called Lazarus out of his tomb alive again. Heaven is also where he looked to find inspiration for his great high priestly prayer for us in John 17. 

Why did Jesus look to heaven? Because it's where his Father's house is, the one with the many rooms which he has gone ahead to prepare for us, and because it's where God, the Angels and all the heavenly host are. I must do it, too, because of that and because it lets the light in. The very best place for looking to heaven with Jesus is at weekly worship in my local church community. Private prayer, reading and meditating on the Scriptures, tithing faithfully, making offerings generously and serving those in need also let sweet heavenly light into my body and soul very nicely. They will for you, too. 

If, on the other hand, my eye is bad, says Jesus, my “whole body will be full of darkness.” (Mt 6.23) Great darkness. Bad eyes mean dirty soul windows. Dirty windows make it hard for me to see where I’m going spiritually and morally or, more to the point, where I should be going. So I need to keep my eyes healthy and my windows clean. So do you. Here’s how. I take care with what I watch, read, look at and click on because I know that there are things out there which are a “delight to the eyes” (Gen 3.6) and which are waiting for a look from me to enable dark downloads through my windows and into my soul. They’re waiting for a look from you, too. 

It’s almost summer. Light is sweet, especially when I keep lifting my eyes to heaven. Like Jesus.