Tuesday, January 14, 2014


This is the transcript of a devotional talk I gave tonight to the First Alliance Church Photography Group monthly meeting. I post it here by request for those who wish to read it again.

Q:  On which day of creation, according to scripture, did God create light?
A:  In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.  Genesis 1:1-5
He separated light from dark, it says. What does that even mean? How would they have been merged together except in shadow? Was it always dusk?

Q: On which day did God create the sun, moon, and stars?
A:  And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so. God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. God set them in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day.
Light existed before the sun. 
Light existed without the sun. 

In the King James translation of the Bible, there are over 300 verses that contain one or more occurrences of the word “light”. Here is a key verse:
God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. (1 John 1:15)
Light is an integral part of photography. Without light there is nothing to see, nothing to photograph. As photographers, we must constantly be attentive to the exposure to light. Without light, there is only dark, but with the proper exposure, we can see and capture the most minimal and elusive light.
The Psalmist says to God, “For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light.” (Psalm 36:9 NIV) or as another translation puts it, "(You are) the light by which we see.” (NLT)
Light is required to bring out the greatest beauty of certain works of art, such as oil paintings or stained glass. A spotlight on an oil painting, sunlight through stained glass. No matter how gifted the artistry and beautiful the art, it takes light streaming through it or on it to bring out its glory. (1)  This applies spiritually as well.
Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Once again in this verse, we see light and dark separated. Jesus, the son of God, separates the light from the darkness.

How are stained glass windows made? They are made of broken pieces, fused together, to make a finished whole more beautiful than its parts. “Each of us is a stained-glass window. Jesus is that Light.” (1)

But a warning comes to us from the Apostle John who writes: “Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed.” (John 3:20 NIV)

With the right exposure on our cameras, even the darkest places can be illuminated enough for us to see what is hidden in the darkness. I would like to suggest the same goes for the exposure that the light of Christ brings into our lives. Our original beauty goes back to the garden, when God created light, he said it was good. Every day when God created, he called that creation good. But on the day he created man and woman, he said it was "very good." In our broken world and our broken humanity, in the middle of the the muddied and muddled glass of our lives, there are times when our original beauty is dimmed by sin or by shame or by hiding.

Yet, as photographers we all know that darkness can accentuate the light. It brings drama and power to our compositions. The same is true for life.
How can you appreciate light if you have never known the fear of darkness? How can you appreciate love if you have never known the absence of it? How can you know what it is to be found if you have never been lost? How can you know mercy if you have never needed it? (2)
The darkness shows us our need for light but we were never designed to stay in darkness. Jesus says we are called to be different: “But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God's very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his marvelous light.” (1 Peter 2:9)

He has called you out of darkness into light. 

In his light we see light. Jesus is the light by which we see. His light can be refused, refracted or reflected. What will you do with Jesus, The Light of the world?

Choose life. Choose light.

(1) Inspired by a quote by Leonard Sweet
(2) John Fischer, The Catch, January 10, 2014: "When Angels Fold Their Wings"

Related posts: 
How the Light Gets In
Light, Reflection, Shadow

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