Wednesday, September 19, 2012
I was out on the open road recently and encountered another of those “Aha moments” as a passing cloud partially obscured the sun and revealed the sun’s rays shining through to my line of sight. I had learned earlier that meteorologists have actually named these light shafts crepuscular rays. But what I finally realized was that those rays of light had been with me all the time. It was only when a passing storm seemingly blocked them from my sight that I took notice. And what I was really observing were the consequent columns of dark shadows that provided the contrast in the skies above.
Our Carolina church celebrates old time “camp meeting” services for a few Sundays in the summer time. We sing old time gospels and imagine images of folks gathered in gingham dresses and shirts goin’ down to the river for salvation during the Victorian farming days. The spirit of that service brought back memories of my youth growing up in a small church in central Kansas, with the windows open wide on a warm Sunday morning. You could feel the spirit of God coming into that sanctuary on those warm summer breezes. But the invited spirit of God can arrive in many different ways, as demonstrated by a little blond girl that was sitting next to me.
At the conclusion of his sermon, our pastor asked anyone who felt the need to come forward to kneel and pray at the altar for God’s healing touch. And folks of all ages and probable reasons did come forward to be closer to their creator to receive His blessing. As the kneeling rails were vacated, I noticed the young little blond girl nudging her parents. She then reached into the busy bag they had carried with them into the pew and retrieved a small, well-loved, wide-eyed, white lamb. Then the four of them made their way to the altar and kneeled to pray, as the little girl placed the little lamb at the altar among the family. The symbolism was quite touching as the Lamb of God revealed His presence within that family and our congregation to shed His grace among all of us on a bright summer’s morn down by the Deep River.
No one is exempt from the dark days we experience in life, not even God as demonstrated on that Black Friday. But a bright light did shine out of the darkness on Easter Sunday to reveal a way through to the other side. And just as the shadow columns had helped to reveal the rays of light that were there in my presence, the life challenges that were being experienced by those people who had come forward gave us all pause to reflect and be aware of the Eternal light that could help everyone get through those dark shadows.