"It is perfectly easy to go on through all of your life giving 'explanations' to everything - religion, love, ethics, friendship - without ever having truly been inside any of them. You continue to define something without knowing what it actually is. That is why so much contemporary 'thought' amounts to nothing... you are busily constructing your conclusions in a place without any light".
C S Lewis.
Yesterday was the first true day of summer here - one of those long, bright, warm days, which I sadly had to spend in an office. The forecast was for more to come, so just after 5am this morning, I grabbed my camera to set off into the countryside of the nearby river valley.
After a brisk morning walk, I found I had arrived too early. The sun had yet to rise high enough to paint the area, so rather than being surrounded by the mornings radiance, I walked to my initial destination in conditions that felt somewhat sullen, like an overcast day. It made me keenly aware of what I had come to encounter, and just how impoverished the morning appeared without that morning light.
The return walk could not have been more different. The sun had risen through the trees, and the river and woodland were aglow with the splendor of warm, adorning gold, making everywhere become marked with the glory of a fresh morning. I quickly found myself revelling in the beauty, ambling along to soak in as much as I could with my eyes of this truly enriching moment that speaks so deeply of the goodness of what has been made.
How much of life is defined for us by those two conditions?
We can live in a world in which there is indeed much beauty and grace, but we really do not see it because the light is not defining, not penetrating our vision - the deep, darkest recesses of our minds and hearts. When that manner of light truly fills us, then nothing remains the same - our entire view and vision is totally transformed.
Jesus spoke of Himself as the light of the world, for when we truly comprehend who He is, then the 'darkness' of all smaller definitions of what is actually taking place cannot but vanish in such brightness. The problem is that religion (via, legalism, dualism and other follies) and the 'normal' (fallen) darkness of the human mind so often seeks to put a screen in the way so we cannot encounter the true brilliance of that light - the wonder and marvel of God's grace, astonishingly and totally giving love - in our world, but continue to live, like some stunted caricature of a person, in the darker realms, denying, we think, that such a full and beautiful thing could be there. Thankfully, all too often, the light finds a way through the cracks, and once a glint of the true is glanced, it becomes hard in the extreme (unless we want nothing else) to scurry back into the dark.
The beauty of the morning was a wonder to behold today, and certainly made rising so early totally worthwhile. The invitation to each of us is to step forward and truly encounter the light of God's work in Jesus Christ. If we can do that, then no morning, no day, no experience, no moment, can ever be the same, because the light found there will always vanquish the dark, and that, we know, is what really counts.