September 29, 2012: Letting Light In

September 29, 2012 § Leave a comment

Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light. But when your eye is bad, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is! ~ Matthew 6.22, 23 ~

Christ give his audience a metaphor – the eye is a lamp. It helps us to consider this metaphor, as most of us don’t use oil-wick lamps. We should ask the basic question, “What does a lamp do?” Well, it provides light to a dark area. Rather than our lamp-eyes lighting up whatever we look at, Christ says that our lamp-eyes fill our bodies with light or darkness. This depends on whether our lamp-eyes are “good” or “bad.”

Eugene Peterson, in The Message, used the metaphor of a window in this verse. Our eye-windows let light in; and if they do their job well, our bodies are filled with light. If our eye-windows do not function properly, then only dim distortions of light can come in. The sad part, Christ says, is that we can fall into the trap of thinking that those dim distortions are actually true light – and if we think that way, we actually live in darkness!

We’re familiar with the phrase, “Garbage in, garbage out.” In terms of diet, a person may be eating three square meals a day and think that life is good. The problem arises when each of those meals comes from McDonald’s. Our friend thinks that he’s doing well because he’s eating enough food regularly; however, a nutritionist would pale in shock and quickly inform him of wiser eating choices that he should be making. He thought he lived in light; actually, he lived in darkness.

Our lamp-eyes, our eye-windows, are entrusted with the job of bringing light to our souls. The words that Christ uses are actually health terms; if our eyes are healthy, then our spirit, souls, and bodies, are full of light. If our eyes are sick and diseased, then we are full of shadows and darkness.

What do we seek to provide illumination to our existence? What do we turn to to help us interpret the world? Where do we turn to experience healing and to receive joy? It’s no coincidence that the Prologue to John’s Gospel refers to Christ in terms of light. Are we seeking to be filled with the light of Christ? Or are we pursuing other things to fill ourselves? Again, the Beatitudes serve as our guideposts. Healthy eyes focus on the values of the Kingdom of Heaven and the King Himself. Eyes that are broken will look elsewhere.

Lord, I confess that I spend too much time gawking at things that are not of you. The things I focus on allow darkness to creep into my heart, and I don’t want that; please help me focus on you and fill my mind and heart with your ways and truth. Amen. 

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