The theme for worship on Sunday December 17 is “Testify to the Light,” and every time I see a theme that involves the symbol of light I am tempted to do a children’s moment that would almost surely set off the fire alarms at church.
Chemistry is a wonderful subject. It was one of my favorites in school. In fact I think I may have written about this experiment about a year ago, but if I did please forgive me because it really impacted my developing brain. Most people know how bright and how hot magnesium burns in our 20% oxygen atmosphere. You can’t look directly at a piece of burning magnesium. It’s a lot like glancing at the sun. But what most people don’t know is that magnesium burns even brighter and hotter when it reacts with 100% carbon dioxide gas. And you can easily demonstrate this by igniting a piece of magnesium and then plopping it down on a piece of dry ice (and covering it with another piece). Where you couldn’t watch the reaction in the open air you can’t even look in the general direction of the magnesium burning in the dry ice. The only problem is that it creates a good deal of “smoke” that I’m afraid would make for a very wet worship when the sprinkler system soaks us.
“So what,” you say? Well, the answer is that this experiment reminds me of John the Baptist talking about Jesus. See John 1:6-8, and 19-28. John gives a great message of terrific good news. John spoke of the light of the world! He spoke of forgiveness. But he also spoke of one to follow him who was far, far greater than he. John was saying that he and his baptism of water were to be considered only the opening acts of a much better play. John said that when the light of the world comes that He would baptize you with the Spirit of God.
So just imagine the light of John for a moment. Imagine you are sitting in church and you hear the best sermon you have ever heard. Or imagine you are on the street and witness the most meaningful act you have ever seen. Or imagine you receive an unexpected gift that makes an enormous difference in your life. You are lifted higher than you thought possible–so high you cannot look down because it’s just too wonderful.
There is something even better coming. It is beyond your imagination, so asking you to imagine it would be pointless. It’s going to be a light so bright you can’t even look in its general direction. It is pure perfection. So great you can’t understand. Ineffable.
It will be God wrapped in the tiny shell of a helpless baby, a contradiction in your understanding. And that’s how God works. You will know it’s the light of the world of which John speaks because it stretches your understanding.
Grow in God CBC.