Pastoral Relief and Retreat

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Wethersfield, CT, United States
I am Pastor at Poquonock Community Church, Congregational (CCCC) in Windsor, CT. My wife Jama and I live in Wetherfield, CT. We'd like to invite you to Terre Haute -- High Ground -- That's what Jama and I call the retreat space on our property. We offer free intentional get-away retreats. We'll feed you and house you and give you space to be with the Lord. All are welcome; no questions asked. This blog is my daily devotional journal. I write it because it is so easy to go for weeks without ever taking the time to be alone with God. Writing helps me develop a discipline I need.

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Candle Light


Luke 11:33-36
“No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar or under a basket, but on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light. Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light, but when it is bad, your body is full of darkness. Therefore be careful lest the light in you be darkness. If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, it will be wholly bright, as when a lamp with its rays gives you light.”

Jama and I were in an antique store over the weekend.  On one shelf was a candle stand.  It was about 2 feet tall altogether, and was in the shape of a cat.  The whole affair was made of wrought iron, which I love.  The candle itself was suspended in the center.  The cat's head was above, and was in the shape of the Sun.  His tail was a crescent Moon, and if you pushed the tail it swung like a pendulum.  As the cat swung back and forth, the cat's eyes shifted left and right.  It was all a piece of very clever 19th century whimsy, and it made me laugh.

The cat.  The candle.  The eyes.  The Sun and Moon.  What was it trying to tell me?  

In a completely dark room, there is no way you would ever find that candle stand.  It was made of black wrought iron!  But light that candle in a dark room and what you would immediately see is not the candle stand.  You would see the white eyes moving back and forth, following the candle.  

Our eyes don't have light of their own.  They are receptors.  They somehow process light; take it in and make sense out of it for our minds.  But all lights are not equally good.  Are you like me?  When you are forced to sit under florescent lights for any period of time, does it make you tired?  I don't much like the new cfl bulbs everyone is hawking these days.  Edison didn't invent electric light.  Neon was around before Edison's invention.  What Edison came up with was a light that was more "natural", and a bulb that would last.  Certain lights actually drain us.  As Tom Hanks observed to his boss in Joe vs. the Volcano, "I can feel (these lights) sucking the juice out of my eyeballs!"  

Some lights just drain the light out of us.  And we really can't say, "Well, I thrive on my kind of light and you thrive on yours."  All is not one.   Some things, no matter how you package them, will never be light giving, because they are darkness and derive from a darkness greater than any light they purport to offer.  They are from that great Outer Darkness that, like the proverbial black hole, draws matter and light and energy into its useless vortex.  

Why is a relationship with God through Christ is so energizing?  Why does knowing God give you vision?   John 1:4-5 tells us, "In him was life; and the life was the light of men.  And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not."  (KJV)  Sometimes the insight of the language used in the King James Version really hits the mark in a way most other translations don't: There is ONE light that the darkness -- the consuming, drawing, deepening, encompassing darkness -- cannot comprehend.  And this word comprehend doesn't mean "understand".  It means that the darkness could not envelop the Light Jesus gives.  

What light are you going to let into your eye today?  Take care!  The images will stay with you for a long time after you close your eyes.  I won't give you a list of bad lights.  You know more instinctively than you can verbalize what those are.  Here's a list of some really good lights to get you started: "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.  What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you." (Philippians 4:8-9)  Start there.  Now take a sheet of paper and build your own list.  Once you've got your list, go and take some snap shots with your eye today.  

Jon 





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