Opinion

The Light of Love

Kris Garey

It’s January in Cook County and up and down Lake Superior freighters and ships are at work as winter deepens. We know the “boats” hang extra close to our North Shore this time of year, and at night folks look out across the lake and can be heard to say, “Look, see the lights! There’s a boat out there!” And this time of year, we get “alerts” via phone or e-mail: “ship in sight.”

One evening this week I got such a message, jumped in the car, and drove to the shore, hoping to sight lights in the vast expanse of dark. Staring into the dark (with no lights to be seen) I wondered, “What is it like, out there on a ship? In that vast darkness? Sure, they have lights—but when the sailors look out, what do they see? Where is their light to behold? A pinprick from a home? A flicker of a comet? Moon or star when they aren’t shadowed? Hint of sunrise? What is seen, in far reaching dark, when sunrise whispers light along the eastern horizon?”


Grand Marais minister Eric Pierce spoke to nearly 2,000 people at the assembly of Jehovah’s Witnesses held in Duluth in December. He discussed the importance of imitating the endurance of biblical prophets. Dozens of area residents attended the assembly. 
Photo courtesy of the Church Grand Marais minister Eric Pierce spoke to nearly 2,000 people at the assembly of Jehovah’s Witnesses held in Duluth in December. He discussed the importance of imitating the endurance of biblical prophets. Dozens of area residents attended the assembly. Photo courtesy of the Church Dear reader, pause now. Imagine: Far reaching dark.

A drive across prairie where farm homes are tens of miles apart.

Being stuck on a deep forest road.

Or in a long climb up a steep-road-of-life where all seems vacant of hopefulness.

Now imagine: Catching sight of a light!

A tiny light casting out into darkness

a beckoning sign of aliveness,

sign of welcome, sign of hope.

No wonder that God has given us light, and gives use of the metaphor of light to help describe the presence of God. God, who is beyond description, is spoken of as a light brighter than full sun on a cloudless day; radiance penetrating; light making greens, blues, yellows, reds and all the colors; light that streams warmth and warming.

Not a fragile or tiny light, not a light that travels merely tens of miles across Lake Superior, not a light that travels merely 93 million miles from the sun. The Light of God cannot be dimmed, shadowed, threatened. God gives light we see and feel; gives light that makes seeds of plants grow; and light that makes seeds of hope sprout to strengthen hearts after darkness has threatened to overcome.

In times like hope-threatening end-of-relationship, illness, or death of one we love, there is heavy darkness in our hearts and minds. Yet, from nature, from one another and from the Bible we see sightings of the Light of God and can realize we are in the love of God even when dark seems to be closing in.

God, the source of light, gives humans knowledge, wisdom and science to study the physics of light– and we use light to see into human bodies to find what ails and bring new ways of healing. The Light of God, the Light that gives Life, Jesus Christ, makes known to us the source of Light— and is also the ground we walk on when physical wellness or human relationships fail us. We are on a planet that is more or less half-time light, half-time dark. But at all times, God is present and God’s Spirit stirs in us, and stirs for us, seeking for us to seek to see the Light of the Love of God. In each tiny pinprick moment God is saying into our lives, “I am with you: morning and evening, joytime and dark-time.”

Jesus, God’s son, became one of us, that we might know (whether we notice or not) that the Light of the Love of God shines in all darkness. Darkness does not overcome for in each darkness of night or life, God’s Spirit accompanies us.

Thanks be to God, Joyous Light of Heavenly Glory, loving glow of God’s grace.

Each month a member of the Cook County Ministerium will offer Spiritual Reflections. This month our contributor is Pastor Kris Garey, Trinity Lutheran Church, Hovland.


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