Stone-Blind

Super Bowl 2021 was its usual combination of pretty boring football, a controversial halftime show, outstanding commercials, and a great excuse to eat a lot of snacks, albeit in the safety of our homes rather than at parties. In the spirit of full confession, I am that person who watches it every year to see the entertainment pieces that keep getting interrupted by a game. This year was no different.

One thing that captured my attention was the Light Gloves worn by the dancers in the halftime show. Now THAT was notice-worthy. They made really cool moves with them, and the choreography was designed to highlight the gloves and the patterns of light that they made. This was a good thing, since the headpieces that were worn should have been left in the players’ lockers.

Man, I would love a pair of Light Gloves! On the Outer Banks, we don’t have a lot of light at night. There is no ambient city light, and street lights are few and far between. The blessing of this is that we can clearly see the stars. The curse is that we can’t see where the door lock is when we come home at night.

Paul encourages us to think about the light-vs.-dark dynamic in a new way in his second letter to the Corinthians. He creates a word chain about darkness: obscure looking—going the wrong way—refusing to give the message serious attention—eyeing the fashionable god of darkness:

2 Corinthians 4 (The Message)

3-4 If our Message is obscure to anyone, it’s not because we’re holding back in any way. No, it’s because these other people are looking or going the wrong way and refuse to give it serious attention. All they have eyes for is the fashionable god of darkness.

Then he creates a contrasting word chain about the light: dayspring brightness—message that shines with Christ—best picture of God:

They think he can give them what they want, and that they won’t have to bother believing a Truth they can’t see. They’re stone-blind to the dayspring brightness of the Message that shines with Christ, who gives us the best picture of God we’ll ever get.

The invitation to all believers today is to go out into the darkness of your family, your workplace, your neighborhood, and indeed the world, and be a messenger or an errand runner for the Message.

5-6 Remember, our Message is not about ourselves; we’re proclaiming Jesus Christ, the Master. All we are is messengers, errand runners from Jesus for you. It started when God said, “Light up the darkness!” and our lives filled up with light as we saw and understood God in the face of Christ, all bright and beautiful.

Where is God calling you to be a light-bearer for him? Where are you meant to shine some light into someone’s darkness and bring them into the beauty of the Son?

Light up the darkness! When we all do as we’ve been instructed, our lives will fill up with his light, all bright and beautiful.

Pull on your Light Gloves and go.

Wolf Moon by Michelle Robertson

Wake Up Call

See if this sounds at all familiar where you are. A family member blows up at another family member, and an onslaught of phone calls to the rest of the family ensues, each presenting their side of the encounter and trying to garner support.

A frustrated teenager slams her laptop closed and storms out of the kitchen because her younger siblings are chewing too loudly.

A friend gets angry, failing to recognize that the unreasonable response of his friend is because the guy is actually having a panic attack.

Overwhelmed spouses bicker to the point of silliness over kitchen duties.

Any time God’s children encounter a great deal of stress, we have two choices. We can let the situation bring out the worst in us, or we can take a deep breath and ask God to help us to be a light in the darkness.

The difference between the two choices is focus, intention, and a deep desire to do what pleases the Lord.

Ephesians 4 (New International Version)

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 

11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. 14 This is why it is said:

“Wake up, sleeper,
    rise from the dead,
    and Christ will shine on you.”

What if this season of great stress is an opportunity for us to discover Christ’s light in a new and more visible way? What if this time could result in many more seeing and following his light?

And what is your part in it, if not to wake up and be the light?

These are challenging thoughts for challenging days. Listen, it never hurts to take that deep breath BEFORE you react, and ask God to use you as a light in someone else’s darkness. When this season finally turns into the next, won’t you want to look back at the many ways Christ shone through you?

Let us seize this opportunity to live as children of the light and do the things that please God the most. Let us reject the fruitless deeds of darkness and turn on the high beams of God’s mercy, grace, and HOPE in this dark time. I believe that people, like moths, are always attracted to the Light.

And guess what? Today, we are one day closer to the end of this thing.

Wake Up and Be the Light. By Michelle Robertson

Be the Light

A dear friend is going through a pretty mean divorce, and the constant wrestling with her husband over the children’s schedules, whose turn it is to have them, and other parenting issues are really wearing her down. He is constantly pulling the rug out from under her, so that she never quite knows whether she is coming or going. His latest trick is to change arrangements by text minutes before an appointed time. She is worn out.

She has tried to be upbeat and positive through it all, and to accommodate him as much as possible. Their children love and need their dad, and she works hard to ensure that they have regular access to him. When he has asked for more time, or needed to switch to a different time, she has gladly given it. But after describing yet another very tense interaction with him, when he refused to take the kids as prearranged in order to get back at her for some imagined offense, she looked at her hands in her lap and said, “It is getting so hard to be a light in this darkness.”

We know we are called to be the light. Jesus came to be the light of the world, and we are called to reflect that light into the darkness of our surroundings:

Matthew 5 (New International Version)

14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.

16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

In over 20 years of counseling, I have noticed a certain myopia that comes over people when a relationship breaks apart. The daily hurts and struggles, the shock of I do’s turning into I don’t, I can’t, and I won’t, and the sheer energy drain that it puts on people is exhausting. Folks in the midst of this often get lost in the daily battles, and can’t see the long view.

When something like this comes into your life, it is important to keep your eyes looking upward and outward. There you will find Jesus looking straight back at you. His word assures us that he will never leave us or forsake us, even to the ends of the earth. It is also important to not lose sight of who you are, which is so easy when you are being pushed and shoved at every turn. Regardless of what the other person is doing, remember WHO you are, and WHOSE you are. You are the Lord’s beloved. You will get through this, with God’s help.

My friend is a light. She is radiant, and glows with joy and the delight of the Lord. I know that she will get though this, and by remaining true to the God who created her, she will retain her sense of self even when darkness tries to invade.

Are you in the middle of a battle? Do you feel as though the darkness has taken away your shine? Are you losing yourself? Take heart. Stay focused on God’s commandments, his blessings, and his light. Sunrise breaks through the darkness for good people. Grace, mercy, and justice will come.

Psalm 112 The Message (MSG)

1-10 Hallelujah!

Blessed man, blessed woman, who fear God,

Who cherish and relish his commandments,

Their children robust on the earth,

And the homes of the upright—how blessed!

Their houses brim with wealth

And a generosity that never runs dry.

Sunrise breaks through the darkness for good people—

God’s grace and mercy and justice!

Sunrise at Avalon Pier by Michelle Robertson