The leaves vibrated with color on the still water. Their brilliance made my eyes squint and I had to try and capture this. Luminosity is difficult to capture and contain. There are photographers, skilled in their art, who can do this. Still, the picture is contained in a frame and the frame of real life is much bigger, more expansive.
Standing on the shore of Silver Lake with these leaves glowing up from the water, one is also surrounded by mountain peaks with a dusting of the first snow, groves of yellow, green aspen under the dome of blue sky. The world is luminous, shimmering with creative brilliance.
Early images of Christian art attempt to display this luminosity. The mosaics and paintings of the first few centuries of Christianity depict scenes of life, abundant life. There are no images of death. The scenes seem to be “lit by a power from within. Sparkling mosaics in vivid colors captured the world’s luminosity.” (Saving Paradise, Rita Nakashima Brock and Rebecca Ann Parker, p. xv)
Jesus told his followers, “You are the light of the world.” We are Jesus followers; we are the light of the world. We are luminous, glowing, radiant, shining, incandescent. We may not feel like the brightest bulb in the box at times, but if we follow Jesus, if we have been baptized in his name, we are powered with the same source that lights up Jesus.
“The Greek word for “Glory,” doxa, connotes luminous beauty.” (Saving Paradise, pg. 37) Luminous beauty surprises and delights us in nature. Sometimes we even have the capacity to perceive it in people. This luminous beauty is glory, God’s glory. This luminous beauty is all around us; let those who have eyes see and those who have ears hear. It is sad that we grow blind and deaf to the luminous beauty that is within us, a luminous beauty created by God and gifted to us through Christ.
As you meditate on the picture of these leaves, as you are delighted by the luminous beauty that surprises you throughout your day, remember that you too are a vessel of God’s luminous beauty. You are called to shine and share it in the world in order to share the good news of compassion, hope and love that we know in Christ.