By Steven Norris

     It felt like every single family in our neighborhood was out in the front yard staring at the night sky. No one had their porch lights on because we wanted to see as clearly as possible the distant light piercing through the dark canvas of the sky. Our family was on the front porch, taking advantage of the raised surface where we could position our amateur telescope, aiming over the tree line.

     Lunar eclipses are fairly common. This one, however, seemed out of the ordinary. The shadow of earth played tricks with the reflection of the sun’s rays off the moon’s surface, intensifying the “redness” and filling the entire neighborhood with an eerie moment of awe and wonder.

     Recently, I came across some of the pictures from that night. I’ve been thinking about the fact that the moon has no light of its own — that its entire “job” is to reflect the light of another source that shows upon it.

     In that same file of old pictures was a series of photos that I took at the Metropolitan Museum of Art years earlier. Standing before some of the great Impressionist masters like Van Gogh and Monet, I was struck by the intensity of the colors. Such colors achieve their vibrancy by absorbing certain light waves and reflecting others. This combination of reflecting and absorbing accounts for a whole rainbow of colors and hues that can be manipulated by the artist to bring out such beauty.

     Humans function in much the same way. We often reflect the experiences that make up our day-to-day lives and the emotional content of the world around us. The difference between us and the moon — or us and the paint — is that we have agency. We have the ability to choose what we reflect and what we do not. We have the ability use our “reflectiveness” to increase or decrease the beauty of the world around us. We have a choice of making it more closely resemble the commonwealth of God or the empires of this world.

     Recently, I came across a social media post from a pastor that captured this very idea. Though not quoted exactly, this is the essence of what he said (a message that all people of faith would do well to reflect upon):

     Do not let the hateful make you hateful too. Do not let the fearful make you fearful too. Do not let the judgmental make you judgmental too. Do not let the vengeful make you vengeful too. Do not let the manipulative make you manipulative too. Do not let the cynical make you cynical too.

     Instead, let the hopeful make you hopeful too. Let the gentle make you gentle too. Let the wise make you wise too. Let the peacemakers make you a peacemaker too. Let the joyful make you joyful too. Let the liberators make you a liberator too. Let the loving make you loving too. Let us choose to be light in the darkness.