Armodoxy for Today: Light
Over the last 50 years or so, people who have succumbed to heart failure have been brought back to life thanks to developments in medicine and better methods of resuscitation. It is interesting to note the experiences of the victim/survivors, upon being revived. Many describe being in the presence of a calming and warm light. Yes, light is being described not by kilowatts or power, but by temperature, by warmth, they say.
I have had the pleasure of knowing a couple of these survivors and I found that there is no denying the reality they experienced on the “other side” of life. They understand people’s skepticism over their experience, but they won’t renege on their story: they were dead, they felt a warm light and then they returned from death. Some will also add that they had an out-of-body experience, where they witnessed themselves being resuscitated from a birds-eye view. In the end, they returned to tell of their experiences.
Within the Judeo-Christian tradition, the first creation story written in Genesis begins with God creating light (1.2) on the first day. It is interesting because the qualifier of what we consider “light,” that is, the sun, doesn’t appear in this account until the fourth day! (1:14-19)
Light is the first thing that is created. And whether you take the story of creation metaphorically, mythically or literally, you have to admit that the placement of the creation of light as the first act of the story (before the Sun) points to a light that is quite different than what we understand when we open the window or turn on the switch. It is a light that can be measure in intensity and warmth.
This week we have been looking at the Biblical passage John 3:13-21, which was the Sunday lectionary reading. We come to understand that Jesus Christ was there in the beginning, before time and matter. He is Divine. Reading on, we find in the passage that we connect true love with the sacrifice of the Cross.
Today we focus on the concluding words of the passage: … the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.
Therefore, in a passage which begins by placing Jesus at the beginning of time, it concludes with an explanation of Jesus’ proclamation, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” (John 8:12)
The Armenian Church prescribes this passage on the third Sunday following Theophany for a reason. When God is revealed – whether as presented by Matthew & Luke with manger, kings, shepherds, the inn and all the nativity props, or by John’s placement of Jesus at the beginning of time – the Light is present. It is light defined by something greater than photons and powered by wattage. It is the Light eternal. It beckons us to walk, pray, meditate and grow in the Eternal Presence of God.
Let us pray, Nersess Shnorhali’s prayer of the 21st hour, O Christ, True Light, make my soul worthy to behold with you the light of Your glory, in that day when You call me and to rest in the hope of good things in the mansions of the just until the day of Your glorious coming.” Amen.