December 30, 2015

A City of Lights by Susan Barclay

Partway through this year I discovered that the United Nations had designated 2015 as the International Year of Light and Light Based Technologies. According to Wikipedia, the observance  "aims to raise awareness of the achievements of light science and its applications, and its importance to humankind."

Did anyone else know about this?

There are a few ironies here: 

1. The proposal for the International Year of Light (IYL) was made in Paris, "the city of lights," in 2012.

2. The IYL launched in Paris on January 19, 2015, just 12 days after the Charlie Hebdo attack.

3. One of the launch activities was the unveiling of "the world of Ibnal-Haytham," an Arab scientist who lived from 965 B.C. to 1040 A.D.

4. Paris experienced a second terrorist attack in 2015 on November 13.

5. From the standpoint of world events, 2015 has been anything but a year of light. Boko Haram and ISIS are just two examples of a greater darkness into which humankind seems to have plunged. For more on the events that took place this year, I recommend visiting InfoPlease.

I administer a private Facebook group called 'Light.' This is a group where members can encourage one another and discuss living as salt and light in a world that seems to have lost its flavour and to prefer darkness. If you are interested in joining, let me know and I'll invite you. Just a few days ago, I posted 'Here I Am to Worship,' a song that begins with the words, 'Light of the world, You stepped down into darkness...' I'm so thankful that He did, and that God has not yet removed His Holy Spirit from the earth.

Sometimes I find myself singing the old hymn, 'Let the Beauty of Jesus be Seen in Me'. Sometimes I've sickened myself because it has come out of my mouth on the heels of unChristlike behaviour. Only as I'm writing this today do I realize and accept that this is exactly the reminder I need at such times. 

Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me
All his wonderful passion and purity
O Thou Spirit divine, all my nature refine
Till the beauty of Jesus be seen in me

As Christian writers we need to examine our hearts and motives around writing. What do we hope to accomplish? Do we have a message we want to share with readers? Do we want to connect? Are we looking for personal glorification or to glorify God? Our answers to these questions are important, so be honest. If you need to, ask God to give you a clean heart.

I like the chorus of Francesca Battistelli's 'He Knows My Name,' which goes (in part) 

I don't need my name in lights
I'm famous in my Father's eyes
Make no mistake/He knows my name

Friends, the battle between light and darkness is ongoing, within and without. In the end, Jesus wins. Let's let His light shine through us like a city on a hill that cannot be hidden (Matthew 5:14).


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  1. Lots of food for thought, Susan. First thing that comes to mind? Jesus has already won the battle for my heart. Praise God and YAY! Second thing? One of my motivations for writing is, on occasion, to subtly put someone in their place. You know... If so-and-so reads this, they'll recognize themselves and realize the wisdom of my words and change their ways... This is one motivation the Lord shuts me down with on a regular basis! May I continue to heed his voice!

  2. I too have thought often during 2015 of the contrast of light and darkness in today's world. We have only to listen to the news to be reminded of evil and dark times. Thankfully some of the news stations include a story an incident or two that stirs up our faith in mankind. Thankfully, also, we who believe in Christ do have light in their lives.

    Before Christmas our "united choir" with members from a few churches sang the cantata, All Is Well. One of the songs included in this musical message is "Here I Am to Worship," which for some weeks became like a positive ear worm for me. Christ is the light of the world, and we are called to be that light, that voice, that testimony to those around us. Thanks for this inspiring read, Susan.

  3. Fascinating connections you've made, Susan, this is so interesting, and also inspiring and encouraging!


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