What color is light? Our blessed Bishop Randolph Calvo asked this question as he presented his homily for the Easter Vigil this past Saturday as he discussed the first reading from Genesis 1. Bishop Calvo pointed out that the patron saint of our Cathedral in Reno Nevada, also wrote many of the hymns we sang at our Easter Vigil. Our patron saint looked at his prior writing and noted it was straw to him. To understand the word of God, our heart sings, and our mouths remain silent. We begin to understand why the Aramaic word for “word” and the Aramaic word for “lamb” as in “The Lamb of God,” is the same word. At our Easter Vigil in Reno Nevada, we began by walking out in the Franciscan Garden outside of our Cathedral to remind us of our role in Jesus’ death two millennia ago.
As children, we liked to think we knew what color light is. It is white. Some in our Cathedral teach high school science class. We have all taken science classes where we learned that light is not white. Light, which is invisible, reflects off objects in the cosmos and makes vision possible. Light is diffracted light having no color of its own. Light acquires its color by reflecting the world. Genesis 9 tells us:
I establish my Brit between you and between your seed after you, with all having the soul of life that was with you: the birds, the animals, tame and wild that was with you, all who came out of the taba. You make this contract with me. I will establish my Brit with you. Never again, will the waters of a flood destroy all flesh; there will not be another devastating flood upon the earth. This is the sign of the Brit I am making between me and you and all who have the soul of life with you for all ages to come: I set my bow in the clouds to serve as a sign of the Brit…
Before this statement, God commands us concerning the eating of flesh with blood in it. The blood and the soul are the same thing in Jewish thinking, and we are not to eat the soul of anything, animal, mineral, and vegetable. The contract is not just with Anglo-Saxons, or Jews, or Muslims, Catholics, or Protestants, or even just all people. It is a Brit/ a Social Contract with all life. Some complain how people with a certain alternate lifestyle we will not mention, have taken over the sign of our Brit, our rainbow. They cannot take it away.
That Social Contract and the rainbow is a sign to all of what God including those with alternate lifestyles, those who we either do not like or do not like us. Our Social Contract is one of peace, where peace means more than a cessation of hostilities, but joining in tranquility. Shalom, peace means completeness, that sense of completeness that only comes when we see ourselves in each other, and the image of God in each other. It comes when we are satisfied with what we have because we know God gives us all we need.
When Jesus tells us he is “The light of the cosmos,” he is not saying he is something physically present that we can see. After the resurrection, he is the light allowing us to see each other, as having the soul of life, the image of God implanted within us. He is the way, the truth, the the life. This takes faith. In Hebrew, faith and truth are the same word. The image for the way is the Israeli walk with Moses through the Negev desert on its way to the Promised Land. The truth is, God allows us to see it through the light of faith. Jesus is the invisible light allowing us to see him in each other and in everything upon this planet.
As we began to process into our Cathedral in Reno Nevada, we started by singing, “Christ is our Light.” As we passed the candle at the entrance to the church, we passed the light from candle to candle, representing how we enlighten each other, not with our rules and regulations, but with the smiles and the joy that comes from seeing Jesus in each other. The question before us is, “Is that a piece of liturgy, or is our liturgy a liturgy (Greek for service) of peace?”