Some Light it Too Bright
August Steering Team Devotional
By Carla Foote, Leadership Media Editor
Eclipses are a fun science phenomenon. Lunar eclipses are fairly common, and my family usually tries to take in a lunar eclipse. Summer lunar eclipses are the best; the first lunar eclipse that I remember watching was on a camping trip when I was a child. Away from the city, the shadow over the moon was extremely clear, and the warm summer evening made watching the eclipse an enjoyable family experience.
Since solar eclipses are more unusual than lunar eclipses, they get more publicity. In addition to the science reporting related to a solar eclipse, there are repeated warnings about NOT looking at the sun during the eclipse. The intensity of the sunlight, even when it is mostly obscured during the partial phases of an eclipse, can cause permanent eye damage. A solar eclipse is a good reminder that some light is too bright for our eyes.
Even with the dangers of a solar eclipse, the light is irresistible and awe-inspiring. The NASA Web site that explains eclipses uses this phrase to describe the brief phase of a total eclipse when the sun is completely obscured:
In spite of these precautions, the total phase of an eclipse can and should be viewed without any filters whatsoever. The naked eye view of totality is completely safe and is overwhelmingly awe-inspiring!
Lunar eclipses are safe, solar eclipses are exciting but dangerous! The difference between the safety of looking at the moon, and the danger of looking at the sun, is based on the fact that the sun generates light, and the moon merely reflects light. The reflected light of the moon is safe to look at, while the intense light from the sun will burn our eyes. This is true on any given day, and especially during an eclipse. The real danger of the solar eclipse is the perception that the light is less intense, even though it still shines brightly.
As we consider the theme of Twinkle: Shine Like Stars in the Universe this MOPS year, we need to think about the difference between direct sunlight and reflected light. As we are gently sharing the light of relationship with Jesus with moms in our MOPS groups, they canít look straight into the sun, the light is too intense! But they can look at our lives and hopefully see Jesusí light reflected, gently and invitingly into their individual lives.
There are several clear references to the overwhelming nature of Godís glory in Scripture. In I Timothy 6:16, Paul describes God as the one who ďlives in unapproachable light.Ē
In Exodus, there are several interactions between God and Moses that illustrate the nature of Godís character and the intensity of the light emanates from Godís very being. In Exodus 33:18 Moses asks to see Godís glory. In the following verses, God tells Moses that no one can see Godís face and live, but he will cause his glory to pass by Moses.
Then, in the Gospels, we see Jesus reflecting God the Father to the disciples.
Read John 14:8-9
- Why does Philip ask to see the Father?
- What is Jesusí answer?
- Describe how seeing Jesus is the same as seeing the Father.
Jesus was Godís provision for a world that could not bear the holiness of God the Father. And as Jesusí followers, we are to reflect Jesus to those around us.
Have someone read John 17:20 ó 23 out loud.
- What specific attributes of God are to be reflected in your team?
- How will the moms in your MOPS group see Jesus?
Now read John 17:20-23 again as a prayer, have others close their eyes and imagine that Jesus is praying this prayer for your MOPS leadership team. Then spend some time praying that your team will reflect Jesus to the moms in your group.
For Further Study:
(Note ó if you have time in your Steering Team meeting, you can do this study together, or it can be done individually for growth opportunities between Steering Team meetings.)
Go deeper into Godís interaction with Moses. Read Exodus 33:12-23.
- In the first part of this passage, Moses has a very bold conversation with God. Describe this dialogue with God in your own words. Why is Moses so bold? Are you able to be this bold in your relationship with God? Why or why not?
- In verse 18 Moses asks to see Godís glory. How does God respond to that? Why canít Moses (or anyone) look straight at Godís face?
Read Acts 9:1-19
- How does Paulís encounter with God follow the pattern of the overwhelming strength of Godís presence?
Source for NASA quote: http://sunearth.gsfc.nasa.gov/eclipse/SEhelp/safety.html