It was 6:54 am. Typically, some sunlight would be coming through our bedroom window by now. I rubbed my eyes and looked at the wall next to my nightstand where the light would be spilling through the blinds.
But instead of the typical square of bright light, there was a wash of burnt orange all over the wall.
Jesse (Rachel and I’s roommate) woke up at the same time and we walked out to our backyard. The sky was full of dark orange from the forest fires to the north. As I’m sure it was with you…we had never seen anything like it.
It wasn’t dark. It wasn’t bright. It was some strange, eery in-between light.
The best way I can put it is…the sky was strangely dim.
And if you’ve got any Christian friends, I’m sure you’ve heard them say that our orange-sky-from-the-fires-day was something “straight out of the Book of Revelation.”
I mean, they couldn’t be more wrong.
But at the same time, they couldn’t be more right.
Let me explain.
Traditionally, the book of Revelation has been viewed as the narrative for “The End Times.” But that’s actually a modern interpretation of the book. In the Hebrew understanding of Revelation, it’s actually a beautiful poem about the renewing of all things, or “the Revealing of All Things.” Modern theology turned The Book of Revelation into an apocalyptic book, but it’s actually all about God’s promise to restore and renew all things.
Restore and renew all things. And all things include COVID and the mourning of Kobe and Chadwick and orange-sky-day and everything else we’ve witnessed this year. So while we may be sitting in a season where everything seems like it’s leaning towards darkness and death, as followers of Jesus we are called to stay constantly curious that there is something beautiful and bright humming underneath all of this darkness.
Today, I just want to remind you of a very simple truth: that while the earth may seem strangely dim, the light of God’s promise still shines bright.
A massive part of the Jesus-story is about anticipating the coming day when heaven and earth are one again. When Jesus is teaching his disciples to pray for the coming of heaven, He points them back to where they are here and now: earth. He says, “live now in anticipation for what’s to come.”
One of the writers from the book of Proverbs says it perfectly for us:
“Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet, then all your ways will be sure.”
This means that the message of Jesus brings hope that is rooted in the engagement of this world, not in the destruction of it, but in staying and overcoming and renewing and reclaiming. Our hope in The Way of Jesus is not about going somewhere someday, but the story of the resurrected Jesus begins to build a better world here and now.
So while we may wake to another story, another moment, or another season that seems to be strangely dim, we are called to be the light of this world. I get it though: it’s easier said than done. It's hard to be a bright light in a dim world. But the magic of this present moment we live in is that the promise of God renewing all things can pop up at any time and usher us along the path of our human experience and light up the dim parts of our journey.
So my friends, never be surprised when grace, beauty, meaning, compassion, mercy, truth, and love show up in the darkness of this world because it always has been God’s world, it is God’s world, and it always will be God’s world.
Always stay constantly curious that something is humming underneath all of this.
As the hymn writer put it,
“Turn your eyes open Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face.
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of his glory and grace.”
Always remember, nothing can dim the light of God that shines from your soul.
Peace & love, my friends.