Our walking tour of Quebec City made us feel old like the cliff-top citadel we were exploring. The ferry-trip across the St. Lawrence River presented itself as an appealing alternative to the pedestrian labours of going down, then up and down again.
We haven’t always had the best of experiences on ferries. On one occasion birds soared and swooped overhead dropping their whitewashed payloads like the dam busters of World War II. We had experienced a direct hit, the impact of which messed with our psyche more than our clothes. But this ferry had inside seating, providing us a place to hunker down if we detected an oncoming sortie of seagulls. Emboldened, we bought passage, boarded, sat by the rail and set sail for the other side.
Our crossing was not full of expectations. The opposing shore was not a destination that beckoned us, we were travelling there so we could travel back, all the while resting our feet. However, the return trip offered up a stunning visual treat. The rays of the setting sun bounced off buildings igniting them with a glory not of their own. These facades brimmed with brilliance because they set their face heavenward to receive and to reflect the sun.
A Light of The Light
The phenomenon we witnessed that day is behind these words of Jesus, “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden” (Mt 5:14). The buildings of first-century Galilean settlements were made of reflective limestone, so cities build on hills would be visible as they emanated sunlight.
Jesus’ first hearers would understand that the hill-top towns are not the source of their own radiance. That is key to grasp the sense of this metaphor. Believers are a light to others because they incline themselves to Jesus, the Light of the world (Jn 8:12). As we align our lives to face Him, we receive from Him and reflect His glory into our world. We are each a moon to the Eternal Son.
I don’t find face time with Jesus easy. A torrent of to-do’s and should-do’s, would-do’s if I could do, swirl through my mind. All this hurry and worry slants my perspective. I come to God desperate for His hands to fix a mess, plug a hole, or lift a load. But I do not approach desperate for Him.
Listening prayer is one antidote to our propensity to fashion God into a helping machine. The goal is to be still, to experience His presence, and to know He is with us (Ps 46:10). We let go of our busy agendas and bask in Him. Our souls find rest and refuge as we wait in silence and solitude for the Lord (Ps 62:1-2, Ps 130:5-6)
What is one thing you could do that would give you more face time with God?