Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Guiding Light

Instead of giving yet another update on life (I start a new job at the end of this month! Hurrah!) or trying to find something on the internet to comment on (which so many other people do much better), I'll be using bits of Father Richard M. Benson's book Benedictus Dominus (in the public domain, link here) as the basis for some meditations for the lead up to Christmas.

Father Richard gives four different titles to Christ involving light for today's meditation. They are: The Lifegiving Light, the Forthshining of the Eternal, the Transforming Light, and the Abiding Light.

  • The Lifegiving Light: Christ is the root from which we get all our spiritual nutrition; when contemplating God's love, we can't help but think of Christ's love for the world in his offering of himself. He is the Son and also our Sun. In this time of waiting for his coming again, Christ can feel incredibly distant. As Christians, we remember the time when the whole world was groaning, awaiting the arrival of its savior, and now we are waiting again. This time, however, we know what to look for. Christ is not the warrior-king who will conquer by force, but the priest-king who lifts earth up to heaven as a gift to God and who brings the love of God down to earth. Even across the distance of space, the sun still warms us, and even across the distance Christ still brings us to God and brings God to us.
  • The Forthshining of the Eternal: In Christ we get glimpses of the divine eternity. When we talk about the End of Times, it's not about darkness and tribulations and all sorts of horrible things happening; it's about our humanity finally being taken up to God. Instead of living in fear, greed, anger, distrust, jealousy, and hatred, we will be living in God's love and peace. We catch glimpses of that here, but the Kingdom of God isn't quite fully here yet.
  • The Transforming Light: Knowing that Christ nourishes us and also directs us onto a better future, we can't help but change. We can't be dead when we're alive in Christ! A relationship with God means I'm never done changing and growing. We all keep learning and failing and trying again throughout our lives, and Christ's presence continually changes us inside when we're open to God. Slowly, quietly, subtly, Christ is there in our prayers and work and slowly shapes us.
  • The Aibiding Light: Christ will be here with us until the end. Unlike our sun which will die out in millions of years, Christ never will die out. More importantly, Jesus will never abandon us in our darkest nights and seasons of deep pain. We might not see him as brightly as we see the sun, but Christ hears us and loves us deeply, weeping over the pain of his beloved brothers and sisters. Christ also abides in the love of friends, the church, and partners; the transformation Jesus works in us is not just for our benefit alone but for the benefit of everyone around us. The Transforming Light shines out through us to be the Abiding Light for others.
May the light of Christ be with you in this season of Advent.


(Note: Richard Meux Benson was a priest in the Church of England during the late 1800's and founded a monastic order for men, the Society of St John the Evangelist, which continues to this day in the US. The SSJE can be found through the link to the right.)

1 comment:

Kim Stiens said...

Oh, you and your theology. I also want to hear more about your new job!!!