Seeing the world through a theological lens...
Our Shining Eyes...
Luke 11:33-36 "No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar, but on the lampstand so that those who enter may see the light. Your eye is the lamp of your body. If your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light; but if it is not healthy, your body is full of darkness. Therefore consider whether the light in you is not darkness. If then your whole body is full of light, with no part of it in darkness, it will be as full of light as when a lamp gives you light with its rays.”
Have you realized yet, that there is a light inside of you? It's metaphorical of course, but Jesus, scripture, scholars, musicians, poets, and other really smart people, often talk about the 'light' within each of us. It is, according to some, "the spark of creation" given to each of us at the moment God grants us life. We learn about it as children: this little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine! It's our life force; the beauty that shines forth from inside each of us, (yes, each of us) to the world.
Today Jesus reminds those people he has just grumbled to/about, (this is an eeevil generation, Lk 11:29) of the light that shines from each of them.
When I heard this passage as a child, I was taught that our eyes let light in, so we should let Jesus's light in. And that our own light shines bright, when lit by the light of Jesus. I think this is lovely. I like the imagery- I like Jesus being the fuel source for my light. And I especially like that if I keep my eyes on Jesus, my light will continue to burn, for God, for good, for glory.
Then I did some research for context.
(Taking a moment of silence to embrace my own geek-dom)
Check this out:
According to a physiology prevalent in Greco-Roman antiquity, the eyes do not function by allowing light to come in but by allowing the body's own light to go out. The eye is the conduit or source of the light that makes sight possible. Jesus' assertion, 'Your eye is the lamp of your body,' thus expresses a commonly held view, identifying the eyes are sources of light insofar as they allow the body's light to go forth. Given this physiology, the pivotal issue is whether the eyes are sick or healthy--that is, whether the body is full of darkness or light....[Jesus] urges his audience to consider the nature of their dispositions.... -Joel Greene, The Gospel of Luke, pp 465-466
This sounds much more like what Jesus was talking about. His hearers believed that our inner light shines out from our eyes! Our "eyes" become the channel for our 'light' to go forth. Doesn't this make much more sense? Our light, what comes out of us, how we live, can be a gift to and for others, or a curse.
Jesus knows the light from each of us is powerful. People learn a lot about us from what shines forth from us; and a lot about the God we profess to believe in.
So Jesus asks us to think about the health of our 'eyes'- what we focus on, and whether what we believe about God, what we are projecting to the world about God, is light or darkness. In other words, is our 'light' shining God's truth, hope, and grace? Does it glow with God's welcome and inclusive embrace? Does it burn with unconditional forgiveness, healing, and reconciliation? Can others see God's justice of non-violence lived out in our light? Have we claimed God's great love for us, (for YOU) just as we are, no matter what?
It's like the old saying, "your life may be the only Bible someone reads." Our life speaks loudly about who and what we believe about God, and God's love for us. It's worth spending some time checking the health of our "eyes" today. You are loved. Let your light shine!
LIght and Love to you,
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Rev. Linda Pepe
Loving life, light, and laughter...