Dim and Dimmer

The folks who wrote the Bible could see stars. Sure, there must have been cloudy nights and Mt. Vesuvius erupting and other occasional disruptions, but they didn’t have all night city light glare to muck up the sky.

So when the Apostle Paul sat in jail he could still imagine the brightness of the night sky and write an uplifting letter to one of the Greek churches (click on the picture to enlarge it):

shinelikestars

The divisions among Christians are like the garish, wasteful excess of city lights that obscure the stars. Our divisions reflect centuries – centuries – of tightly clutched complaints and arguments; of church corruption and nominal members living no differently from the dying, decaying mess around them.

When Elijah called the devotees of a false god to come up Mt. Carmel and have it out, he also called the rest of Israel – supposedly God’s own people – to come and witness it. And he challenged their light-dimming compromises,

And Elijah came near to all the people and said, “How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.” And the people did not answer him a word. (1 Kings 18:21 ESV)

What manufactured lamps give us hazy light by which to limp through life while masking the light of the world, the Christ, who leads us in the narrow and true path of life? I suspect that many of the “lights” that guide us are in fact abysmal darkness,

Darkness, an attachment to creatures, and light, which is God, are contraries and bear no likeness toward each other, as St. Paul teaches in his letter to the Corinthians: “Quae conventio lucis ad tenebras?” (What conformity is there between light and darkness?) [2 Cor. 6:14] Consequently, the light of divine union cannot be established in the soul until these affections are eradicated. (St. John of the Cross, The Ascent of Mount Carmel I.4.2)

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