On Monday, August 21, 2017, my hometown of Carbondale, Illinois was the center of a rare cosmic event. Carbondale was one of the best spots in the USA to watch the solar eclipse, and it will also witness a solar eclipse in 2024. I was still living in Virginia that day, so I missed the beauty of the sun as it burst forth from behind the moon in the midst of total darkness. But those who saw it said that the scene filled them with awe.
In today’s passage, the psalmist uses light as a metaphor for God, writing with the awe of one who has experienced its truth: For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light (v. 9). Jesus continues to draw on this powerful picture when he says, “I am the light of the world” (Jn 8:12). To draw near to Christ is to learn that Christ’s light illuminates all things. When Jesus Christ becomes the lens through which we view our world, we start to see what’s wrong within ourselves and our culture.
Lent is a season for self-examination. During these weeks, God invites us to the life-giving work of looking at ourselves through Christ’s light. The psalmist knows that the deep healing we need involves honest confession, repentance, and change. The light of Christ’s love will lead us to a new life. But this kind of change is not a do-it-yourself project. The light of Christ’s love is our only hope for exposing the wrongs that we need to see. Only in this light will we experience the fountain of life that is able to fill us with awe.
When Christ is the lens through which you view the world, what do you see that you would have otherwise missed?
Light of the World, fill us with the light of your love so that we will not sin against you or one another. Amen.