Theology

Is light an important consideration in worship? Please explain.

Light’s abundant symbolic content has various meanings for the Church. Traditionally stained glass windows have symbolized the incarnation of Jesus Christ. God is perfect light. Light cannot be seen as God cannot be seen. However, colored glass makes light visible. Light passing through stained windows, therefore suggests the incarnation of Jesus where God became manifested.

Light has benefit and purpose in a worship space, which should be open and well lit. Natural light in a church building is significant both functionally and symbolically. Permit outside light to shine into the building. Morning light, at the rising of the sun, provides a good time for corporate worship. This illumination, in a wonderful sense, suggests the incarnation, God’s coming into our space.

Christmas borrows on the symbol of light. During the early winter when the days are short and the nights long, we think of the centuries of the half-light before Christ’s coming. These December days of Advent reflect on the waiting time of the ancient world for the Messiah and mark the beginning of our church year. Finally, during the winter solstice, earth’s darkest day, Jesus was born. Immediately following Jesus birth, the days lengthen and the sun’s light increases. The Messiah and His redemptive act become increasingly manifest.

Darkness yearns for light. Death yearns for resurrection. The inherent biblical dynamic is darkness to light. When the earth was created there was darkness. The first record of God speaking brings forth light. During the Old Covenant, days began in the evening with the witness of the first two shining stars. Also in the first chapter of Genesis, the days are called, “evening and morning.” And, today we begin celebrating the holy day of Christmas during the evening before Christmas morning.

The dim light of the moon reflects the sun. The moon’s light is regarded as representing the Old Covenant with its blurred vision of a coming Messiah. Thus, obscure Old Covenant light recorded time with a lunar calendar. The New Covenant is much lighter and its calendar, now ours, is regulated by the sun. The brighter light more clearly reveals the essence of God through Jesus Christ.

The Jewish people’s rejection of the Lord Christ is a serious matter since the Old Covenant is but a reflection of the New Covenant — the light of the moon is only a reflection of the light of the sun. The Old Covenant, therefore, is nothing without the Light of the New. “And there was evening and there was morning, one day.”