a study in light, part 3: invitation

The final installment of our “Study in Light” series begins with a question…

[Jesus] said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.”

Mathew 16:15-17

At the inception of the world, God’s ultimate intention was to extend an invitation.

We began with an infant universe and within it a world that needed saving from itself. God answered, as was prophesied by Isaiah, that the Light that should enter the world would eliminate Death’s finality and separation.

When Jesus asked Peter that crucial question, he knew that people would spend their lives searching for the answer to it. Peter’s willingness to look beyond logic and into the face of the Divine (literally) was proof that the light inside God’s people had not gone out. It’s easy to accept what’s right in front of you. But it is faith that moves you past what you cannot understand fully.

The other day, my friend and I were talking about the non-believers in my philosophy classes while I was in college. She asked, “Why do you think they didn’t believe?” My response was two-fold: experience or science.

Science is an easy one. One of the first questions we ever ask as a child is, “Why?” That’s not a coincidence. Humans have evolved from cavemen and the discovery of fire to tablets, bullet trains, and 3D printing. We are constantly expanding our known world in order to improve it and make it more efficient; we are, in fact, always searching for a better “why.” When someone responds with faith, there’s not a formula that derives faith as the answer. It’s an incalculable inexactitude. If you can’t find the answer in a textbook or from a calculator, the answer does not exist and is therefore impossible to those who make science their god. And it’s understandable because it certainly seems illogical to believe something you cannot see!

But then there are those who don’t believe due to the experiences in their life. These are either individuals who have experienced the horrors of death and evil, or those who just haven’t seen God move. To the latter, I think the solution is to keep chasing what is good and will honor God with your life. Failure is a crucial part to knowing God and if you run from it, you run from the chance to see God come through in ways that are impossible for humans alone. To the former, those that have known true sadness and loss, they believe that God cannot exist because he wouldn’t allow such horrible things to happen in the world. While the core problem with this argument is that they do not understand the intentions of God, the solution would be to seek out God’s true personality and to allow faith to fill the cracks of their heart.

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Matthew 5:14-16

To believers, though, we are given a hope and a promise that solidifies our future in a way that makes the Light he put inside of us pour through our words and actions. He tells us, “I have come into the world as light so that no one who believes in me need remain in the dark” (John 12:46).

Here, again, we see God’s separation of light and darkness. They cannot coexist and that is why Jesus invites us to join him in the light.

At the end of our days, we’ll be welcomed into the kingdom of God. In Revelation 21:23-25 it says, “And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, and its gates will never be shut by day — and there will be no night there.” Imagine bathing in that glorious, good light for eternity.

This is it. It’s the hand extended to you each morning as you clamor out of bed. It’s the offer of forever in blinding admiration of the Creator of Light. Who do you say that he is?

I’ll leave you with these wise words:

The same God that placed that star in a precise orbit millennia before it appeared over Bethlehem in celebration of the birth of the Babe has given at least equal attention to placement of each of us in precise human orbits so that we may, if we will, illuminate the landscape of our individual lives, so that our light may not only lead others but warm them as well.

Neal A. Maxwell

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