On my last day in El Salvador a few weeks ago, I got up well before sunrise so that I could see the sky change.
I was well rewarded with a brilliant partly cloudy sky, watching the clouds change from dark blue, to purples and pinks, to oranges, to blazing yellows. As the clouds around the mountain hiding the sun turned a blinding gold, I had a moment of revelation.
These are simple clouds - collections of dust and water.
But they have carried almost the full crayola box of colors, and now they shine with a dazzling gold. This dust and water reflect the sun’s glory.
We too - collections of dust and water - in our best moments, reflect the Son’s glory.
We don’t have any light on our own, and seen from a different perspective, we are simply a puff of smoke. But on occasion, we blaze with the Son’s color and light and glory. My prayer is that we will be in position to reflect Him well.
The sky begins lighting up a full hour before sunrise.
Before anyone sees the sun over the horizon, the sky has already begun changing from black to dark blue to purple. The clouds begin their parade of colors through reds, pinks, oranges, and golds. The effect is more dramatic when a mountain blocks the view of the sun. We see the effects of the sun, long before that globe of blinding gold ever breaks across the horizon. The sun’s rays are already lighting up the sky, and their reflections are lighting up everything in our world, so that we can see houses and flowers and gardens in the near light of day before the day has truly begun.
This seems very close to our situation in theological history.
The Son is returning, but we cannot see the Son. God is blazing light into our world, but we cannot see God directly. We only see the effects of the Son reflected all around us. We can say, “I cannot see God, so there must be no God,” but that denies the light we do see.
This effect is all the more dramatic when a mountain of pain or injustice blocks our view. The mountain can darken huge portions of the sky, and the closer we are to it, the more it blocks from view.
Yet the Son is still rising and returning and shining His effects all around us. We need to broaden our perspective to take in the light that shines around the edges of our mountain of pain. We need to look down close at hand and see that the very ground we walk on is lit from the reflections of the Son we cannot see.
At some point, Jesus will break the horizon, but not yet.
In the meantime, we join the sky and the clouds and houses and leaves in reflecting his glory scattershot in our world. We may have moments of blazing brilliance full of glory, but mostly we just shine in our own personal colors - drab or beautiful, bold or simple - as the Light bounces from here to there and back again in our Dawn of the Ages. In this ordinary daily reflection, we bear the Light of the World, and we are part of the lighting of the universe until the true Light edges over the horizon and soaks us all in glory.