We begin to see

I made a mistake this weekend. I forgot to make sure I’d written and queued a newsletter email for Monday morning. And then, yesterday morning, for the first Monday in a year, there was no Long Story Short. Dan McCracken sent me an email, wondering if I was performing a public response test. I wasn’t. But it was an encouragement to know that what we’re doing at Barclay Press makes a difference and that when we don’t do it, people notice.

In this morning’s Fruit of the Vine, Nancy Thomas makes a suggestion about how we learn to notice over time: “With humility and patience we combine prayer with attention to God’s word, and the Spirit unfolds that word, layer by layer. The unfolding of the word brings light.” That word — “light” — is why I chose the photo in the header of this email.

The week before Christmas, there was heavy fog in the valley floor, so I drove up into the Chehalem Mountains, hoping for a good photo of tree trunks in the mist. I remembered, halfway up to Bald Peak State Scenic Viewpoint, that fog in the valley often means clear skies in the mountains. And when I got to Bald Peak, the setting sun — reflecting off the low-lying clouds — lit up this stand of trees. There was so much light. All day long, I’d been living down on the valley floor, and it was dark. But just before sunset, after a drive up to Bald Peak, I was surrounded by light — blazing light — a completely different world.

Nancy writes that this is what happens when “the Spirit punctuates the Old Testament with assurances of God’s guidance . . . with bright promises of greater guidance available to all God’s people.” In Ezekiel, for instance, “we learn that the same Spirit who will anoint Jesus will also be given to his followers, opening up to them the possibility of receiving revelation from God.”

And there is light. The psalmist asks God in Psalm 119:18 to “open my eyes.” In verse 105, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path,” and “the unfolding of your words gives light” in verse 130. 

We live on the valley floor. The fog is thick. The day is dark. But up on the mountain, there is clear sky, bright sun, a sea of blazing light. Because “in God’s time, we begin to see. Bright promises, indeed.”

Eric Muhr