Last Saturday evening Marilyn and I used a few spare hours to watch the movie ‘King Kong’ while Beth was at work waitressing, and John was at a sleepover. We bought the DVD at a stall at a local flower festival at least two years ago, but the three-hour running time meant we never got round to watching it.
I was amused by several inaccuracies during the part of the movie featuring the small ship that eventually transports King Kong back to New York. The most serious for me was that the lights were on in the wheelhouse at night. Any seafarer knows how important good night vision is, which is why the wheelhouse is kept as dark as possible at night.
Night vision is important so that the officer of the watch and the lookout can see the navigational lights of other vessels while they are still many miles distant. From the lights it is possible to determine the direction a vessel is taking, and whether there is any need to alter course to avoid the possibility of a collision.
Light and darkness feature often in Scripture. Shayla, our speaker in church last Sunday morning, reminded us that Jesus said: “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12 NIV) But Shayla focused her teaching not on the light, but with a challenge about the shadows in our lives:
A shadow is an area where direct light from a light source cannot reach due to obstruction by an object.
Shayla described how despite the direct light shining from Jesus, the Pharisees had become obstructions casting dark shadows and preventing people from seeing the Source of the light (John 8:2-19). When Jesus cast his light on the adulterous woman who the Pharisees had asked Him to judge, the shadow was adultery and other things in her life that needed to change.
We do not need to squint from a dark wheelhouse through binoculars to observe a small and distant light as it emerges from the horizon. The light from Jesus is more akin to a flood, a fountain of light that never stops overflowing. So is there any excuse for hiding in the shadows behind obstructions of our own making? We need the light of Jesus to reach us and to touch us. We need to step out from the shadows. We need to stand in the Light.
Shayla concluded her sermon with the reminder that we might be the only place that some people have the opportunity to see Jesus. So what do folk see when they look at us, when they look at our lives, and when they look at our churches?
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. (Isaiah 9:2 NIV)
I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. (Psalm 34:4-5 NIV)