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Grace Notes: Earth’s Shadow

With the blessing of clear skies, many of us enjoyed watching the lunar eclipse last Sunday night. This rare occurrence happens when the earth’s shadow falls on the moon, obscuring the light that is normally reflected back to us. In other words, we get in the way of sun’s rays, causing things to go dark for a finite period of time.

After seeing this take place, I began to think about other ways that our earth gets in the way of light that shines. More specifically, I thought about the ways that we who live here prevent the rays of God’s love and justice from shining on all people and all creation. All too often, our words and deeds eclipse the brightness of God’s light and cause others to dwell in darkness. Instead of fulfilling our call to be bearers of light, we obstruct it with earthly tendencies toward things like fear, greed, arrogance, hate, and indifference.

As a result, refugees wander in darkness. Ethnic minorities dwell in the shadows. Hungry and homeless people live in obscurity, and victims of violence fail to see the light. Vulnerable people across the globe stumble in the darkness brought about by other human beings, and many who long for love and acceptance are told they are not worthy of these radiant gifts.

My hope in all of this is linked to the fullness of that natural wonder that many of us witnessed on Sunday night. From the time I first set my eyes upon the darkened moon, I saw the obstruction diminish. With each minute and each passing hour, the sun’s rays reached more and more of the moon’s surface, until the fullness of our natural satellite was basking in light again.   If you were to ask me to describe my hope for the future of all creatures, and all creation, I would say that it looks the same. Perhaps that is a celestial way of saying what Isaiah proclaimed when he promised that every earthly obstruction to God’s coming kingdom would one day be removed (Isaiah 40:4).

In the liturgy of Holy Communion, there is a beautiful phrase which describes the way that God is fulfilling this promise in Jesus Christ. “Sharing our life,” we say, “he lived among us to reveal your glory and love, that our darkness should give way to his own brilliant light.”

Pastor Jan Ruud

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