Going through old photo collections is great. Memories made of recorded light… I re-live the holiday, remember the heat of the sun, stony path, the sound of the rushing mountain torrent taking water back to the distant sea. Glorious… and freshly laid down again in my brain by the repetition. Lush greens of the early summer foliage, the milky-blue-ish colour of the river caused by the snowmelt and tiny rock particles suspended in the water.
Joys of technology– I then re-processed the picture as a monochrome image using an infra-red filter- and this (below) was the result. A recognisable but very different result. The recorded light has been interpreted using a different parameter.
Light is recorded: and contains more information than we can see with our unaided eye. Cameras and computers collect, record and process information. But it is our mind or soul that makes sense out of the images.
Now, if we consider the Bible as “recorded Light”- words of Truth and Love written down as revelation- what happens when we read it? We “filter” the words through our language, our culture, experience and expectations; our conclusions are shaped by out particular “set” of what-makes-me-really-me. We can’t help it! It’s who we are and how we think.
I’m reading two books on understanding the Bible. One explores the historical approach of Celtic Christianity –“The Peacock’s Tail Feathers” by Kenneth McIntosh; and the other describes the journey of Rachel Held Evans in “Inspired.” Both are deeply insightful, and both are challenging and inspirational. I’m enjoying my reading- and facing up to the fact that I cannot fully interpret God’s “recorded Light” without help, which includes seeing the Truth as revealed through other filters.
It’s not a “different Truth.” It’s more akin to realising that a precious cut diamond has many facets, all of which add to the total impact of the beauty within.
There are four Gospels, not one. Much common material is included: extra stories/signs/emphases make the unique characters of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John into a gorgeous “stained glass window” of recorded Light! God gave us FOUR colours!
When we read “Genesis,” do we approach it as a scientific text, a purely historical record, or an “origin story”… because the “filter” we read through WILL affect our understanding and, in all likelihood, we will need help to see what the Reformers described as “yet more Light and Truth to break forth from His Word.”
Limiting ourselves to the one way we have always approached the Bible will limit our understanding and our obedience. Think for a moment- every historical renewal or reformation has answered a challenge of that time by re-discovering something important about God and His ways. There are loads of Christian “streams” that contain Living Water. Perhaps we need to dip into our neighbour’s bucket?
God has painted beautiful images in many forms. How about going back to a “favourite” story, or epistle, or Psalm… and look for deeper revelation as we view it from a fresh angle?
Light has been recorded for us. Let’s explore it, joyfully!
Psalm 119:105 (NLT) “Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.”