Friday, November 22, 2013

LIGHT AND DARKNESS -- by Gail Kittleson

The following is an excerpt from Gail Kittleson's non-fiction book Catching up with Daylight. Enjoy!!!!

Sometimes I wonder about the shift from night to day. What exactly defines the difference between night and morning, darkness and light? The Apostle John encourages us to claim our status as God’s children and keep our footsteps out of the shadows.

Lectio Divina, an ancient Benedictine form of meditation, invites us deep into the word light. From the first chapter of John’s Gospel, what one word draws my attention today? After several readings, I wait. Light focuses my thoughts . What does the writer mean by light, and what action would God have me take concerning that meaning?

First, the context: “In Him was life, and the life was the light of the world” (NIV).  I didn’t get very far. Four verses. That’s okay. Gone are the days of complicated, application-oriented Bible studies that tackled a whole chapter or more at a time in verse-by-verse analysis. Today I ruminate about light, and that’s enough.
Jesus’s life was the light of the world. How did that light affect His world? Not always met with gratitude and approval, He knew some would attempt to snuff out the flame, and temporarily succeed. Yet that light has pervaded throughout the ages, down to this time in history. It’s the same light that beckoned us when we first heard the Good News.

Joy behooves us to remember that first light.

Sometimes darkness closes in on even God’s most devout followers, as it did on our Lord. Saint John of the Cross, along with countless other ancient believers, experienced this. Saint John’s sole goal—to love God—seemingly led him away from the light. We can relate to his statement: “Desolation is a file, and the endurance of great darkness is preparation for great light.”

When it seems our Savior’s life-giving rays flee the scene of our everyday life, we suffer a tangible sense of loss that sneaks up subtly, silently, like a snake winding its way into a camper’s bedroll. Suddenly we find ourselves deep in shadow country, enveloped by a penetrating chill. Where has the light gone? What has happened to our relationship with God?

Walking in the early morning reveals gradations in atmospheric light. As a temperature change occurs with the sun’s disappearance at day’s end, so dawn’s light streaks from the east in a vast beam, drastically changing our perceptions. Still, the precise moment when darkness becomes light escapes an astute observer. With little ado, morning comes, and with it warmth and a new day.

The atmosphere gives clues, and meteorologists work to isolate sunrise and sunset, offering precise information in their weather broadcasts. “August 27,  sunrise at 5:21, sunset at 8:36.”

Spiritually, I’ve attempted the same sort of analysis. But sometimes life moves so fast, it becomes difficult to pinpoint the appearance of light or stall the coming of darkness.
Perhaps analysis sits less well with our spiritual journeys than with meteorologists’ goals. In certain seasons of life, recollected light may be enough, and we simply need to keep walking.

When have you needed to rely on recollected light? 

 Available November 15, 2013 in print .  . .

Catching up with Daylight makes a pleasant companion for this season of reflection. Snuggle near the fire with this volume, or give a friend a gift to . . . 

celebrate the power of friendship

explore historical and contemporary passages from darkness to light

discover an ancient Benedictine meditation practice

re-experience the beauty of the present moment

                        rethink your favorite gospel stories

Many of us long for rest, as the author did while renovating an old house after her husband’s first deployment to Iraq. Yet a different hunger undergirded that desire: a hunger for wholeness.

No fast track exists to a closer walk with God, but the ancient Benedictine practice of Lectio Divina enhances and extends our times with our Creator. Allowing the Spirit to emphasize one word and ruminating on that word throughout the day empowers us to remain present for every moment, attentive to embrace all that God has for us.

About Gail Kittleson:

After teaching expository writing and English as a Second Language, Gail Kittleson enjoys her family (married 35 years, delightful grandchildren), teaching a local memoir-writing class, and writing. Her nonfiction (Catching Up With Daylight/WhiteFire Publishing) and fiction (World War II era--still in the works) share consistent themes—personal growth through life's challenges, finding one's voice, and gratitude.

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