Service ended last Sunday and the balcony filled, hummed, then emptied as people found their classrooms. We’ve moved our ladies’ Sunday school class to the gym to leave gaps between tables— social distance. It makes things awkward, because our voices ring off the walls and ceiling and basketball backboards. But it’s good, because Mrs. Barb and Mrs. Marilee have come back and seem comfortable.
Mallory came in fast, unslinging her leather satchel and propping her foot up on her knee. Courtney brought her girls, and I saw Sammi had chopped her hair short. I told her I liked it, that we matched now. I asked Anna to pray, and the voices shushed to shuffling feet and purses.
Then, I read aloud:
“But in these last days, he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power.” – Heb. 1:2-3
I wanted to unwrap it all, to dig out each attribute of Jesus and hold it up to the light, turning it every which way. But second service would start at 11. And besides, God doesn’t just speak through prophets, apostles, or Sunday school teachers. In these last days he has spoken to us– all of us– by his Son.
So I looked at them and asked:
“What draws you to Jesus?”
The “radiance of his glory” rang in Cindy’s ears. It made her think of brilliance, and Mallory agreed. Becca put her finger on “the exact imprint of his nature”— that Jesus isn’t a dumbed-down version of God. Lisa reminded me of what we studied in Jude, and how Christ as upholder swelled with Jude’s doxology. Marilee’s hands moved with her thoughts, as she tried to grasp at the fact that God does speak, that he has any imprint at all, that Jesus made the abstract concrete.
My eyes circled back to my notes, but I stood in the silence longer. What could I say? Their words gleamed with the Spirit, and I was just a bystander, a beneficiary, struck by more light than I knew what to do with.
So I read this quote:
“To say that Jesus is the radiance of God’s glory is to say that Jesus relates to God the way the rays of sunlight relate to the sun.”[i]
And what about God’s people in a corner of the gym, with their masks and purses and haircuts– their minds, personalities, souls? Do they have a part in radiance?
A few days later last week, rain dribbled onto the roof and down the gutters. We were piecing dinner together when the sun soared in through the shower, turning all the droplets to light. We came to the doorway to watch them glisten on every limb and twig, then splash onto the front porch.
And I thought maybe Jesus’ people relate to him the way lightdrops relate to the light.
[i] Nancy Guthrie, Hoping for Something Better. (2007. Tyndale House Publishers: Carol Stream, IL), 7