Reflecting His Glory in Darkness!

Photpgraph of nearly full moon
Reflected Glory!

Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts,
The whole earth is full of His glory!
(Isaiah 6:3b)

Have you noticed the beautiful Full Moon this week?  Isn’t it gorgeous?

I took the attached picture last Friday evening, January 6, 2012, during television commercial breaks from calling the Hogs to victory in the Cotton Bowl (Let’s hear a Woo-Pigs-Sooie from all you Arkansas Razorback fans)!

You can see that, as of Friday night, there was just a small touch of shadow on the lower left edge of the moon.  Over the next two days, it has continued to round out, to completely full on Monday, January 9, before fading back toward the New Moon lunar phase.

Although those of us living in southwest Arkansas have been enjoying too much lovely rain to have seen the moon since Friday night, I’m taking it on faith that the lunar phases are still continuing in their normal cycle, since Friday.

That big glowing ball of a Full Moon rises just as the sun sets, shines its beauty over us all night long, then sets as the sun rises.  It provides light throughout the night, while the sun is hidden from us.

That’s quite a contrast from two weeks ago!  Christmas week was a New Moon lunar phase, where the moon was seen as only a thin crescent that rose with the rising sun and set with the setting sun.  Not only does the New Moon provide very little light to us, but it also shines at the time we least need the light.

See, despite the appearance, the poetry, and the songs, the moon does not actually shine.  The moon only reflects the light of the sun, and the amount of sunlight it reflects toward us is dependent on where the moon is located, relative to the sun, as it orbits the earth.

Here’s what amazes me as I gaze at that big, beautiful glowing ball of a Full Moon: Where was all of that light two weeks ago?  I gaze at the full moon, fully bathed in sunlight, every feature revealed in sharp relief by the light of the sun, and am amazed by the fact that I cannot see all of that sunlight except for when the moon is positioned so as to reflect it.  I become aware of the fact that all of that space in our solar system, that looks so dark at night, is actually completely filled with sunlight!

One of the properties of light is that it travels unidirectionally.  When we are on the night side of the earth, gazing at the night sky, that sky is filled with sunlight that we cannot see, because the light rays are travelling away from us rather than toward us.  Yet, when the moon is suspended in the night sky, the sunlight strikes the moon and reflects back toward us.  We can see the sunlight reflected off of the moon, because it is traveling toward us, whereas all the other night-sky sunlight is traveling away from us, and therefore invisible to us.

Not only does the moon provide us with reflected sunlight, but in doing so it also demonstrates to us that the entire night sky, though appearing dark, is actually filled with the sun’s radiance!

Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts,
The whole earth is full of His glory!

This is the message of the seraphim, in Isaiah’s vision of the Lord sitting exalted on His throne, in the temple.

The whole earth is full of His glory!

The whole earth is full of God’s glory, just as the whole solar system is full of sunlight.  Yet, for most of us, His glory is so hidden by the shadow of sin, that all we see is darkness.  You and I, as Christians, are called to be moons, reflecting the light of His glory, so the people in darkness can see His light!  So they can become aware of the truth that the whole earth is full of His glory!

For God, who said, “ Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has  shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:6)

Look closely at the moon.  It’s really a rather ugly barren place.  It has no water or plants.  It is covered in thick gray dust.  The moon’s surface is pock-marked with thousands of scars and craters from asteroid impacts.

When the Full Moon is bathed in the light of the sun, every flaw is openly revealed for all to see.  Yet we don’t see the flaws!  We don’t even notice the moon’s flaws, because we are so enamored by the beauty of the reflected sunlight!  All we see is the glory of the sun, not the ugliness of the moon’s scarred surface.

Now look again at the attached lunar picture, and notice the bright pinpricks of light scattered across its surface.  You may need to click on the picture to view it full-sized before you can even see them – dozens of small bright spots of reflected light.  Each one beautiful!  Each one reflecting light much more brightly than the typical lunar surface.  Each one representing a blemish on the surface of the moon.

Those blemishes and scars reflect the sunlight like a multifaceted diamond!

How many scars are you carrying?  How often do you work to conceal those scars, so others won’t realize they’re there?  How can we reflect God’s glory, while concealing our scars and imperfections?

I have plenty of scars.  Life has not been particularly easy on me, and I have the emotional scars to show for it.  In myself, those scars are ugly reminders of painful experiences and sorrows I would rather not remember.  Handed over to Christ, to be shared with others, both the scars and my inherent imperfections become beautiful reflections of His glory!

Or…to use the metaphor of an earlier post, the gaping holes of our brokeness allow God’s glory to shine out for all to see.

Reflecting His glory is not about being perfect.  It’s about letting others see our authentically-lived imperfect lives, while walking in His love and grace.

Let’s stop working to conceal our scars and flaws, and instead, trust Christ to reflect His glory through our authentically-lived imperfect lives!

(A poem by Joseph J Pote)

I venture forth at twilight
To walk the streets of dusk.
My cares slip slowly from me,
As in Christ I place my trust.

The tensions of the day
Slowly leave my mind,
As my feet propel me forward,
Leaving worries far behind.

I watch the sunset colors
Fade softly from the sky,
See the stars begin to twinkle,
And the moon begin to rise.

It is a full moon, rising
Low in the eastern sky,
I’ve watched it grow each evening
As fourteen days passed by.

I marvel at its brightness
And ponder on its source.
It has no light within itself,
But reflects the sun’s full force.

Where was the light two weeks ago?
The sun shone just as bright,
But the moon was not positioned
So I could see its light.

The moon reflects the sun’s radiance,
As the light of the sun fills space.
Christians reflect God’s glory,
And His love for the human race.

Were it not for the lustrous moon,
How would the sun shine at night?
Were it not for gracious Christians,
How would the world see God’s light?

Lord, fill me with Your radiance,
And put me in Your chosen place.
Let my light so shine before men,
That they would seek Your face.

Lord, remove the veils of sin
Which darken my view of You.
Mold me in Your image,
So others can see You too.

What scars or blemishes have you given to Christ, to reflect His glory, by sharing with others? 

[This post is linked to Hear It / Use It @ Graceful and The Wellspring]