June 19, 2012
"And there will be no more night; they need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever."
Reflection by Donna Schaper
I think that electricity might be a blessing but I am not sure. The evidence is not yet all in. If it weren't for the electric light, we wouldn't be so able to work at night. We would have 12-hour days for work and 12-hour days for rest. We would go back to being people who could have dreams and visions because we would get the kind of rest that permits visitations from the unconscious. The sleeping pill market would dry up. Alarm clocks would never ring again. I'd get rid of the digits that my clock radio blazes on the wall, when I wake up at 3:12 a.m., wondering what time it is and why I forgot something "important."
Only a fool would want to live fully in the "good old days." But even a fool could question how well lit so many of our days are, with the worst thing that can happen to most of us being that our cell phone is uncharged. We declare this malady so eloquently: "I am out of juice." Kurt Vonnegut predicted "lights out" factories, where the robots who did the work didn't need light at all. What is a robot if not somebody afraid they are out of "juice?"
If only we had been light about the Enlightenment, perhaps the electric bulb might not have stolen so much of our humanity from us. Since we were heavy-handed about it, we find ourselves way too well lit, with no way to just enjoy the night sky or a little twilight.
Enter Revelations to tell us that God is our light and we need not worry about night any more. If that is true, perhaps the bulb has less power than we give it.
You who are our light, come and relieve us of the burden of too much light. And light up our nights in a different way. Amen.
About the Author
Donna Schaper is the Senior Minister of Judson Memorial Church in New York City. Her latest work is 20 Ways to Keep Sabbath, from The Pilgrim Press. Check out her work at www.judson.org.
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