light comes in

I have been pondering Jesus’ statement that “the lamp of the body is the eye.” How curious that has always seemed to me, almost indecipherable at times. I mean, it’s a very simple sentence. But maybe it has hit me like a riddle because it is so counter-intuitive to the way I usually think. How can the eye be the source of light for men? To me there is a lot that comes from inside people that brings out light and ideas and kindnesses. But Jesus says in another place “It is not what enters into the mouth that defiles the man, but what proceeds out of the mouth, this defiles the man.” Jesus’ view of man is that there is, by original nature and ultimate potential, no light inside of man; that what man needs originates from outside him. This is radical, and disruptive to the ways we think of ourselves and others; we easily dismiss this.
However, Jesus says that the eye is the gate through which light can enter the body; that it is made for that purpose. In fact your cornea, your pupil and the lenses of your eyes are specifically arranged to take in and transmit light right onto the waiting receiver, your retina, which then translates to your brain. We do not come up with light, it must come into us.
hand-1044883__340Think about it, your body is a very dark place on its own. When scopes go into our bodies they must bring their own light, like miner’s lamps, to be able to see anything. When bodies are on surgical tables they are dark chasms until the surgeon’s knife cuts open flesh and the huge lights over the table light up what was hidden and all closed in. We only see these things because our eyes have taken in light first. This is simply true, and the physical is a signal/type for what is more important, the spiritual. Looking into someone’s eyes is often so intuitively instructive as to whether there is any life or light in there. According to Jesus, for any light to be inside us, we have to let it in, we have to allow our lamps to be lit. We cannot come forth with light on our own. Light was the 1st creative accomplishment in Genesis and it comes forth from God. This is basic though I stumble over it.
As an artist, I am working with the contrast of darks and lights all the time. I am taking materials and ideas and trying to bring forth new things with the stuff on my work table. It feels so presumptuous sometimes, impossible other times. Indeed it is. I cannot make things out of nothing. I need something to “inspire” me, to get me started. I have been invited to co-create with the One who brings light and ideas and continual kindnesses in and around me. And sometimes THIS feels like a floodgate, that I have difficulty channeling.
Today begins the festival of lights, or Hanukkah. This festival is a historical victory celebration of God bringing surprising light. How interesting that this yearly festival comes at the time of darkest days in the Northern Hemisphere. The King of Israel once said that “In Thy light we see light” Ps.36:9, in other words it is a parallel to what Jesus was saying: that light is apprehended in our experience by His initiative, only by His initiative. This is common grace, meaning it is given to everyone even though they don’t know what they have.
I think of this too because John’s gospel begins with a similar theme: ‘light came in… it came into darkness; and the darkness was exposed and illuminated and graced with the light of life. And darkness simply could not understand or comprehend this light; it could not invent light, but it could reject the light. This is such a mystery of grace. It was in the beginning and it remains.

One thought on “light comes in

  1. GreenXia

    Dear Mary, Miss you a lot. After getting all through the situation here i eventually open this homepage. How are you two doing? And childrens? I always remember those love and peace from you which jejus told us. While glancing through the pages “Light”—Key words. Sometimes we might not see the light because the fearfulness makes us close our eyes.
    Here I am, Support you, also support myself fully with courage and bavery.

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