Light on Board

Last Christmas In Chicago my wife and I chanced upon something luminous. A sign above a ramp in Grant Park said, “Free art this way.” Walking up we found ourselves on the roof of the Art Institute of Chicago in the presence of a singular art piece called “Lunar” by Spencer Finch. A fit of curiosity overcame me, then a smile, and luminosity abounded.


As an artist Finch follows light as a primary subject.  The science behind his work is pretty cool: check it out here. But it was his simple vision that thrilled me: build a vessel to ascend to the moon, capture moonlight, and return it to Earth for us to see and maybe even see by.  Check it out—light on board.  Awesome!  Even cooler when it’s dark.

Being a student of the Bible and connoisseur of fine-food in Chicago, that afternoon over lunch my “Lunar” encounter brought to mind the Gospels in the Christian New Testament, which I believe call to memory and perception the original small step for a man and giant leap for humankind.  The moon doesn’t actually shine, right?  It merely reflects the light of the Sun.  And can you actually capture light?  Is that possible?  Isn’t all light fresh light?  Like that, a Gospel is not God; a gospel is a vessel trying to capture the light of God and return it to Earth for us to see, and maybe see by, especially when it’s dark.  Check out the Gospels—light on board. Awesome!

The Gospel says God sent light into the world and the darkness did not overcome it, that Jesus is the light of the world and even at this great distance when we look at Jesus we see God shining forth, luminous and radiant. Because of Easter Christ’s light is always fresh; and that’s good news right now, especially at times like this when the moon is down and night seems long and very dark.

I’ll leave you with a favorite Celtic Christian prayer.


O Christ you are a bright flame before me

You are a guiding star above me

You are the light and love

I see in others’ eyes

Keep me O Christ

In a love that is tender

Keep me O Christ

In a love that is true

Keep me O Christ

In a love that is strong

Tonight, tomorrow and always


Blessings to you, that you may walk in light.

david gilliam, pastor, faith united methodist church, austin.  for more about faith church, go here.