Monday 1 February 2021

Living as Children of Light

I want their hearts to be encouraged and united in love, so that they may have all the riches of assured understanding and have the knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

—Colossians 2:2-3

Throughout my childhood and adolescence, I don’t recall anyone teaching me about the different liturgical seasons. Of course, I knew about the two high points, Christmas and Easter. Yet the notion of liturgical seasons in which we open ourselves spiritually to the discrete meaning of particular moments in God’s story remained largely foreign to me. Words like ‘Advent’, ‘Epiphany’, and ‘Lent’ carried a slightly exotic ring to my Christian Reformed ears.

In fact, it wasn’t until relatively recently that I began to see my daily life through the rich lens that the Christian liturgical calendar provides. So I still feel like something of a novice when I explore the meaning of the current season of Epiphany, in which we celebrate the glory of God’s manifestation in Christ.

Christians understand Christ as the light that the prophet Isaiah announces in Isaiah 60. There Isaiah tells the people of Israel that “nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn” (vs. 3). As special agents of God’s shalom, Israel was meant to become a light to the nations, a distinctive manifestation of God’s desire for justice and peace to embrace in a world made good. Christians believe that Jesus Christ is a further, unique manifestation of that same divine light, and in Ephesians 5:8 Paul encourages all those who would follow Christ to live as children of light.

But what does it mean to live as children of light? In Ephesians 5, Paul advises us to be careful to live “not as unwise people but as wise” (vs. 15). Wisdom, it seems, has something to do with it. And in his letter to the Colossians, cited above, Paul tells us that the knowledge of God’s mystery is Christ himself, “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” What a profoundly cosmic statement! At ICS, we must continually remind ourselves that the treasure of wisdom is not hidden in the works of Aristotle, Aquinas, or Arendt, but rather in Christ himself.

Yet Aristotle, Aquinas, and Arendt still make for extremely helpful travelling companions as we live into the wisdom of Christ that God calls us to embody—as we strive to live as children of light. I am so thankful to have been raised in a religious community that understands the importance of the intellectual dimension of human existence, and the role the life of the mind plays in our individual and communal efforts to discern our Maker’s call upon our lives. Pray with us this month that ICS will remain ever faithful to that mission, and that in so doing we may become a light for others who also seek the treasure of the wisdom that is Christ. And once again, thank you friends, for being the wind in our sails on this wonderful journey!


Ronald A. Kuipers