The Christian Scriptures take up the theme of Divinity and Light when it compares the Christ experience to Wisdom, who is called in the Hebrew Bible “a reflection of light, a spotless mirror of the working of God, and an image of his goodness.”
John’s Gospel begins with a deep exposition of Wisdom. We read:
All that came to be had life in him
and that life was the light of people,
a light that shines in the dark,
a light that darkness could not overpower.
The Christ in John’s Gospel is continually discoursing on the theme of light.
I am the light of the world;
anyone who follows me will not be walking in the dark;
but will have the light of life.
When he was preparing to cure the man born blind who would receive his sight back (i.e., light), the Christ is reported to say:
As long as I am in the world
I am the light of the world.
Restoring light and sight to the blind is a theme that arises often in the Gospels. That Christ brings light or enlightenment to the world is spoken of in the prologue of John’s Gospel:
The Word was the true light
that enlightens all people;
and he was coming into the world.
The Gospel of Thomas relays the following teaching from Jesus.
Jesus said: If they say to you: Where are you from? Say to them “We came from the light there, where the light was, by itself. It stood boldly and manifested itself in their image.”
Jesus speaks in that gospel as he does in John’s about his relationship to light:
I am the light that is over all things. I am all: from me all came forth, and to me all attained.
Clearly these are not words of the historical Jesus but of the Cosmic Christ, which the community put into the mouth of Jesus. But they apply to us all since we are all called to be other Christs, thus light to others.
M. C. Richards, who sculpted the “I am the Light of the World” clay tablet shown above has this to say about light and the divine:
How do we remember what it is to be human persons? The Christ Within: What a beautiful thought! The warmth and light and love radiating from within….
One is reminded of Thomas Merton’s mystical experience crossing the street in downtown Louisville at noon rush hour where he saw all these people and strangers emanating light. He wrote in his journal the next day, “How is it possible to tell everyone they are all walking around shining like the sun?”
Adapted from Matthew Fox, One River, Many Wells: Wisdom flowing from Global Faiths, pp. 67-68
Also see Matthew Fox and Bishop Marc Andrus, Stations of the Cosmic Christ, p. 59.
Banner Image: Mosaic of the Virgin Mother with child, north dome of the inner narthex of Chora Church, Kariye, Istanbul, Turkey. Photo by fusion-of-horizons on Flickr.
Queries for Contemplation
Can you say you “come from the light” as the Gospel of Thomas proposes? What does that mean? What are the implications of such a heritage?
What does it mean that Jesus is said to “come from the light” and that the Christ was a true light that enlightens all people? Are you such an enlightened person?
This is a book of meditations on the Cosmic Christ, accompanying the images of 16 wonderful clay tablets by Javier Ullrrich Lemus and M.C. Richards. Together, these images and meditations go far beyond the traditional Stations of the Cross to inspire a spirit awakening and understanding of the cosmic Christ Consciousness, Buddha consciousness, and consciousness of the image of God in all beings, so needed in our times.
Beautiful full-color cards from Stations of the Cosmic Christ to aid in your meditations on the Cosmic Christ, featuring the images of 16 wonderful clay tablets by Javier Ullrrich Lemus and M.C. Richards. Step beyond the traditional Stations of the Cross and experience a spirit awakening and understanding of the cosmic Christ Consciousness, Buddha consciousness, and consciousness of the image of God in all beings, so needed in our times. Includes an instruction booklet containing suggestions on how to use the cards.