For with you is the fountain of life;
in your light we see light.
The Psalm for today from the Revised Common Lectionary is Psalm 36. The second half of verse 9, “in thy light we see light” is the motto of my alma matter, Valparaiso University in Valparaiso, Indiana. This phrase is prominent throughout the university, but most so within the beautiful and tremendous stained-glass windows surrounding the altar and chancel of the Chapel of the Resurrection. This chapel is enormous, holding up to 4,000 people at one time. When the organ is playing and the chapel is filled with thousands of people singing, it is a resurrection moment for sure. And when the early morning light floods through those windows, the colors and images are mesmerizing.
But perhaps more prominent than even the windows themselves is a large Jesus hanging on a cross in the center of the chancel, just behind the long altar. Jesus is positioned in what is known as the “Christus Rex” (“Christ is King”) pose, with arms outstretched and raised high, sort of like a touch-down sign. This is the victory of the resurrection overcoming death and sin. You can also notice a remarkable crown upon Jesus’ head; a crown of thorns reworked to look like a true crown of a king.
During the season of Easter, the paraments hanging from this cross are white with dazzling colors that echo and even blend into the array of the stained-glass windows behind them. This is my personal favorite time in the chapel. Spring is budding with new life and those greens reflect gorgeous light into the chapel, enhancing the already awe-stuck majesty of that place. This is the time when light seems to flow endlessly through the windows and into the rest of the massive chapel, falling upon all who enter. And in this light flowing down from the cross of Christ, we see light – Jesus, the light of the world. We leave the building sanctified and carrying that light out into the world to share with others.
Out in the world, we can become a kaleidoscope of Christ’s light, reflecting various colors and patterns into the various places we go to the patterns of people we meet. Bearing such light is often symbolized in the Pascal candle, the new Christ candle burned at Easter which itself is ornamented with an array of colors and symbols of the resurrection. Just as Christ brought hope into the world, we as Christians take the hope of this good news into the rest of our daily lives, adventures, and encounters. We strive to mirror Christ’s image and reflect his light and hope. Even in the most desperate of times and situations, we can rely on the comfort of this hope, this light at the end of the tunnel, this love that surpasses all understanding. And above all we can trust that in God’s light we will see the light of the world.
God of all light and all darkness, shower us with your love that we may reflect that love to all whom we meet. Remind us of the hope of the resurrection and the good news revealed through your Son, Jesus Christ. Thank you for the light’s amass of colors that await us every dawn and remain with us through the setting of the sun. Grace us to see your light in the light around us. Amen.v