Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Running to the Light ; Bringing a Spiritual Perspective to Daily Life

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Running to the Light ; Bringing a Spiritual Perspective to Daily Life

Article excerpt

Over the desk in my study I have a picture taken by Gordon Converse, who for more than 40 years served this newspaper as a photographer. It is a striking black-and-white photograph of his daughter Debbie when just a child, running along a gleaming driveway through the woods near their home.

Debbie is in silhouette. Her feet are flying as she hurls herself into the slanting rays of a rising sun. Her much taller shadow is trailing behind her, but in her eagerness to reach the light, she hasn't even thought of looking back.

That photograph shines with a message I cherish. When we are walking - or running, like Debbie - toward the light, shadows seldom frighten us. It is only when we look back that we might feel threatened by the shadows of darkness, fear, evil. They are most quickly and effectively dispelled from thought and life by spiritual light. This comes from a fuller understanding of God.

I vividly recall a time when shadows were cast across our yard by tensions with our neighbors. We happened to be English, and they happened to be German.

They were upset over criticism they said we had voiced in the neighborhood over the way they were bringing up their children. Somehow this had been distorted into hints of child abuse, and these rumors were being fueled by their youngest son as a form of protest at his parents' fair but firm discipline. The fact was, we had praised their approach to child-rearing, especially their commitment to discipline.

Clearly, both families needed to be turned toward the light - beginning with us! We turned to the Bible - not for vindication of our innocence or even for comfort - but for a better grasp of God's laws, which had always brought us healing answers. These laws are helpfully described in Psalm 19: "The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes" (New International Version).

Two of these commands, says the Apostle John, are "to believe in the name of his [God's] Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us" (NIV, I John 3:23). …

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