Sunlight and Stained Glass

A few weeks ago I was sitting in church. It was a quiet moment, and I was closing my eyes. The first thing I noticed was that it was totally quiet. That’s so rare in my life and in our fast-paced world. Even my thoughts were quiet. It was really peaceful. It was much-needed. I don’t think it lasted even 30 seconds because of what came next.

Our church building has been around since the 80’s, but there was a major renovation done in 2015. One of the things they did was to repurpose some of the original stained glass. Unfortunately, it isn’t visible because of the black curtains that mitigate the natural light to help increase the stage visibility.

But in this moment on this day, in the exact way that the sun was positioned, a little beam of light peeked through. Seeing it wasn’t the first way I noticed it. I felt it before anything else. With my eyes closed, I sensed some sort of hand reaching out to touch me. All at once, my mind and heart were flooded with thoughts and emotions.

I opened my eyes to see this colored sunbeam that looked so new and so ancient all at the same time, and it was so narrow and positioned so specifically that it was essentially only falling on me. My eyes were open, but they still felt like they were closed. I didn’t feel like I blinked even once. My eyes were affixed to my sockets and nothing in my body moved.

I was immediately transported to the countless church buildings that have been holding weekly meetings for the past few thousand years. I thought about how completely personal, intimate, and just-for-me that light felt. And I simultaneously thought about how that very same sun has been casting rays upon people sitting in churches for basically forever. I felt connected to those people and the love they also surely have felt through something so simple and yet so profound.

I thought about how not only does the sun provide the perfect amount of warmth to sustain life, but how it also has this amazing power over our emotions and moods. How could this be anything but a gift meant for us? I felt that gift and that love in that moment. It was a reminder that I’m not alone: not now in my life, and not in the scope of human history. I felt connected. I felt cared for.

This past week, I had to complete the final steps to launching the next part of my business. I have been taking a course on how to use YouTube for business, and I have spent the past 2 weeks learning, studying, planning, and preparing to make my first professional-caliber video. And this Wednesday was filming day.

I was really tired from being out late after going to a concert the night before. (Hadn’t done that in a while! Welcome to being 32 and a dad.) I was feeling scared and under-confident. It’s one thing to plan the topic and write a script. It starts to get really real when you have to actually get on camera and start to put something out there. I was feeling depressed and generally down. All of the smoke from these fires wasn’t helping. I decided to take a nap since I felt like I was falling asleep.

But before I could fall asleep, I felt that same sun casting light on me. This time it came with more of an inviting voice. “Rise up, my son. You have got this. I have more for you right now—no nap required.” So I listened and got up. It wasn’t even so much an act of my will, because I didn’t have much of that left at this moment. It was more of an involuntary motion. I simply followed as my body got out of bed and started getting ready.

Fast forward 2 days, and I have posted the first video in my next phase of growth—personally and professionally. I am really proud of my work, and I would love for you to watch the video and check out my channel. You can do that here.

I’m not a sun worshipper, but I can certainly understand how people in history have arrived at that as a reasonable option. I recognize the sun as a gift from God. He used those beams in the past few weeks to speak to me and remind me that He cares for me, and that I’m not alone. And it’s so cool that I’m not the first or last person to experience that.

Faith is not a logical thing that can be arrived at by accumulating facts. It always comes down to deeply personal and emotional experiences, whether positive or negative. I have been going to church my whole life, and yet it’s moments like those that have solidified my faith in God. As I sat in church or laid in bed, I cannot deny the reassuring love that I felt. It’s one of the truest things I’ve ever known or experienced. All other knowledge I’ve learned about the Bible or anything else just faded away as I felt the good and gracious God speak directly to me, as if I were the only person in the world He had to worry about. And that’s a lavish and amazing gift.

Mark BjerkeComment