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

Vindication

Have you ever longed to be vindicated after an unprovoked attack? Having someone come alongside of you and take up your cause can be life-giving. In contrast, standing alone against oppression can absolutely flatten your soul. To hear someone articulate your defense is what everyone desires in such moments. If you have ever defended a friend against an attacker, you are a blessing. Friends don’t let friends stand alone.

Our Psalmist today is in that exact spot. He is alone in his situation and looks to God for vindication. What better friend could we have than the Lord to stand with us?

Psalm 43 (New Revised Standard Version)

Vindicate me, O God, and defend my cause
    against an ungodly people;
from those who are deceitful and unjust
    deliver me!
For you are the God in whom I take refuge;
    why have you cast me off?
Why must I walk about mournfully
    because of the oppression of the enemy?

In God’s timing, the vindication is not immediately given. We don’t know why. Perhaps the Psalmist needed to learn how to defend himself. Perhaps God was teaching him something. Certainly patience and trust in the waiting times are things we learn when we cry out to God and have to wait for an answer.

That is exactly where our Psalmist lands. He knows what to do, where to go, and who will deliver him as he waits and asks for help.

O send out your light and your truth;
    let them lead me;
let them bring me to your holy hill
    and to your dwelling.
Then I will go to the altar of God,
    to God my exceeding joy;
and I will praise you with the harp,
    O God, my God.

This statement of loving trust is beautiful. He calls out for God to send light and truth. He asks to be led up the holy hill where he will worship at God’s altar with exceeding joy. Already he is anticipating that vindication is coming.

Why are you cast down, O my soul,
    and why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
    my help and my God.

He remembers God’s help and reassures himself that he doesn’t need to be cast down. Hope returns, and he is comforted.

Do you know what to do, where to go, and who to wait for when you are feeling beat down? Do you trust God to hear when you cry out for deliverance? Do you anticipate his coming, even in the waiting?

God is your refuge and strength. Keep seeking his light and his truth. When the time is right, he will defend your cause and deliver you from deceit and unjust treatment. So go to the altar and wait. Praise God with joy and wait. Lift up your head and wait.

Hope in God! He is your help and salvation, and he’s on his way.

Hope Dawns by Paul J. Clifford