||Environmental Stewardship Commission
Episcopal Diocese of
Creation Season 4: Light
Sermon originally presented October 28, 2001
Copyright 2001 by Thomas
This morning we conclude our 4 week celebration
Gods creation with a celebration of light.
We began our service with a prayer for light, and
the passing of a flame from one person to the next.
The flame that gives is in no way diminished by its
It burns just as brightly as before.
- There is something magical in the passing of a flame.
Light is the fundamental energy of the universe.
- Yet is has passed on something.
- Because if heat alone is applied a candle will melt into a pool
without ever catching fire.
- Yet a far smaller amount of heat in the form of a flame applied
wick will set it alight.
The warmth of the sun is carried to us in the form
photons, the basic units of light.
Light also feeds us.
- Only when it hits the ground and the atmosphere is some of the
down into heat.
- Light keeps us warm.
Johns Gospel uses light as a metaphor for Jesus.
is the light of the world.
- Plants, by a miraculous process called photosynthesis, capture
energy and bind it into chemical structures we call food.
- Plants and their seeds bless all the higher life forms with their
of captured sun energy.
- And, most obviously, light allows us to see.
The sun shines on everyone, without distinction.
- It struck me that if God is Love, as the Epistles tell us;
- And Jesus is the light, and light allows us to see,
- Then Jesus is the light that allows us to see the love of God.
- Which, of course, is exactly what John is trying to tell us.
Light has a mysterious side.
- It gives light to rich and poor alike. It makes no judgment. It
on Asamma bin Laden, and on the soldiers who seek him out. It gives its
gift of warmth and light freely to all.
- It is a perfect metaphor for the love of God, and for Gods son,
himself up to death on the cross while we were yet sinners.
- Jesus is the light that shows us the love of God.
Another parallel between light and God is that we
only a small portion of what is there.
- Is it particle, or is it wave?
- Depends how you measure it.
- Somehow it knows whether you are going to measure for a wave,
for a particle.
- There is no brain involved, at least that we know of.
- Yet it mysteriously adjusts itself to the experiment being made.
- God is even more mysterious than light, appearing in not 2 but
forms at different times.
God blesses us with the rich colors of the
stretching from red to blue.
But above these are a much larger range of
known as ultraviolet light, including x-rays
Below are the infrared lights and below that
Its important to remember that everything we
know about God is only a small part of the spectrum.
The story is told that the great theologian Augustine, near the end of
his life stopped writing and speaking about theology.
When asked about it he said he had realized that everything he thought
he knew was as nothing compared to the mystery of God, who cannot be
or described by a man.
- We have learned to detect other wavelengths of
but the vast part of who and what God is remains invisible to us.
- This is not cause for despair. Jesus, the light, has shown
to know that God is loving, compassionate and kind.
- But it is a caution against any rigid orthodoxy that rules
views of God.
- God is mostly still a mystery.
Light is very powerful.
The energy, the power of light is not only outside
us, impinging on us.
- Some of the wavelengths that come from the sun can burn us badly.
the ozone layer in our atmosphere blocks most of those particular
- Not quite all though, as I can attest from many a painful summer
- Its interesting that they are planning to irradiate the mail to
anthrax bacteria that may be on it.
- Evil disdains the light. It doesnt like to be illuminated.
- Which is why a free press is so critical for remaining a free and
- X rays can see right inside us. God can too But not in order to
- The light of Christ allows us to see Gods love within ourselves.
- The power of light fills us with energy for life.
- Gods love warms and enfolds us, and enables us to love others as
- As you go forth into the world today, let the light of Christ
in you, to show Gods unconditional love to everyone you meet.
To Tom Harries' other Creation Season
This sermon was part of a four-week Creation
Season service first presented in October 2001 at St.
Nicholas' Episcopal Church, Richfield, MN. For additional
on the service, contact St. Nicholas' or the Rev
Thomas Harries, their priest.
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