Reflections by Jerry Webber

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

You ARE the Light of the World

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven."

(Matt. 5:13 - 16)

Some people, writing about these Jesus-words, think the metaphors point to our human potential in connection with God. Even Sacred Space 2018 -- which I find very helpful day-in and day-out -- writes of these verses, "Jesus seems recklessly confident of our potential."

But Jesus is not making a statement about our potential as much as stating the way things are, naming our actual being, and daring to claim the reality of what it means to live in union with God. "You ARE the salt of the earth . . . You ARE the light of the world," he says. This is not potential, but actual reality, the way life is in connection with God.

You are the light of the world -- already! -- so you cannot ask, "How do I become light?" or "How do I get more light?" You cannot not trade in your own light for a brighter light, for someone else's light. The state of light within you has been conferred upon you by virtue of your creation in/by God and then affirmed in your baptism.

You are the light of the world, not as an achievement, nor an accomplishment, nor an attainment. This is who you are in connection with God, who is all Light and who created you in God's own image. Your center is Light, the Light of Love in the imago Dei.

So live from that very Center. Allow the Light to illumine you, to illumine all of you . . . to see and to be seen. Allow the Light to illumine the parts of you that are good and whole and find healing. And allow the Light to illumine that within you which is embarrassing, crippling, and hidden in the shadowy recesses, lurking in the shadows of your inner world.

Let your light shine. That is, just live from your Center. Live your light in your world. Let it shine in the place where you live, not hiding it but putting it out there normally, naturally as the center of who you are. You don't have to make an effort to be a witness, to shine your light. Simply live from your center. Live from the inside-out. Walk your life-path according to this interior fire, rather than according to the exterior guides of social pressure and cultural expectations and narrow tribalism and fearful protectionism. Let your Light-filled center -- enlightened! -- guide you. That's all. If you do that, the light burning and flaming and enlightening you will shine for others, for the world.

Simply allowing the Light to illumine you, your relationships, your way of being in the world, your way of working . . . this in itself will enlighten the world.

I know people for whom this has and is happening. The Light that flames within them shines in the world, not because they are bold or extravagant or extroverted or good speakers. They simply live from the Center, inside-out, and the Light that illumines their interior shines in how they are in the world.

I think this is at least partially what Jesus means when he says to you and me: "You ARE the light of the world."

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