Let’s go to church Adam

As pointed out in the previous article, my friend Adam and I went to a church service once upon a time that inadvertently led him to Islam. I on the other hand would be considered irreligious today by most standards of the sanctimonious do-gooders. However, I have a sermon as an apology to my friend.

Dear Adam,

Isaiah 60:1″Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you.”

Allow me to expound on this verse a little further. The first word on the aforementioned quote is, “Arise” –the act of getting up. In this context however, I think the Lord is instructing you to come into existence, to come into being in addition to getting up. Most of us already get up without much difficulty, but coming into existence requires a little bit more than standing up or just ceasing from being still. You are being instructed to come into being, to be in constant motion, to stand tall on your platform, to be cognizant of your environment, to be continuously in search of finding oneself.

You must not be stagnant. Our innate consciousness allows us to have certain feelings regarding the decisions that we make on matters of life. These feelings range in complexity; guiltiness, satisfaction, inadequacy, accomplishment, indecisiveness etc.

In order for us to have a full understanding of whether these complexities are justifiably valid, we have to develop a system of evaluation that can guide us to not only review our decisions, but to also ensure that we do not repeat those decisions that are contrary to our wellbeing. Therefore, it is highly imperative that we utilize such systems to keep polishing the rough diamond.

Furthermore, one can only get to understand oneself through introspection -a mode of self-evaluation that is most importantly free of charge, convenient, and effective. This Self-reflection which is a contemplation of our own thoughts, desires, and conduct is indeed one of the best evaluation mechanisms to gauge the decisions that we make.

The second instruction is to; “shine” not to glitter superficially, but to be distinguished –to experience a feeling of well-being or happiness, as from good health or an intense emotion. You are being instructed to not only arise, but to ensure that you go above and beyond the task at hand so that you may excel. You are made in God’s image, meaning you are meant to be extraordinary, to be superior to mediocrity, to be eminent –imposing in height and stature.

Subsequently, if you have already risen as instructed, then whatever you choose to partake in thereafter, you have to give it 100%. You have to perform the task in accordance with the optimum talents that have been bestowed upon you. You must shine. Your work must illuminate quality that is simply a reflection of yourself (that which is made in God’s image.) This was well summarized by the former Green-bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi: “Gentlemen, we are going to relentlessly chase perfection, knowing full well we will not catch it, because nothing is perfect. But we are going to relentlessly chase it, because in the process we will catch excellence.”

Now, if you have risen, therein The Lord is expecting you to shine. This is because you are the epitome of his representation. The embodiment of what is Godly both in physical nature and all that transcends the tangible.

Conversely, once you have risen and come into recognition with the fact that you are in yourself the earthly representation of a higher power, then you will realize all that entails the second instruction -to shine.

Let us analyze what it entails to shine. Having arose -come into being, all in the presence of His light, then every decision that we make must be in par with these simple instructions: Rising is the realization of the abilities that God has given you; shining is the optimization of these abilities.

Correspondingly, when we pray, we ought not to pray for interventions, but rather we ought to pray that we may realize our God given potentials. Why would God act as an interventionist to solve something which you can solve on your own only if you realize the potential that you possess?

A student who fails to prepare for an exam then prays for an intervention from The Lord is in an inferior position than one who prepares adequately for the task ahead, then asks that The Lord make him realize his/her potential. The latter is requesting that he may come into awareness with that which he is capable of performing; whereas the former is requesting for an action which he is capable of doing devoid of God intervening. (Action? Proaction? Inaction?)

Without attempting to formulate a deduction of the Supreme Being, we ought not to constantly ask for interventions for earthly issues which are manageable if we put our own effort forth in the presence of His grace.

We inherently possess certain elements that allow us to make choices that should be a reflection of God. Often times, we choose to utilize these elements to satisfy our own insatiable greed in the pretense of God’s reflection. Reflection however, is a phenomenon of a propagated light being thrown back from the surface -this surface is you. You cannot conceal this reflection, you can only reveal it, and thus it is an accurate portrayal of your deeds.

Your deeds have to be a representation of your Lord. From the time that you arise in the dawn of morning to the moment that you retire to slumber, your deeds must be in concurrence with your light.

Amongst the inherent elements, light is one that has been endowed by your creator upon you. An unalienable element that you must keep lit for in its absence is darkness -a bottomless abyss of despondency, despair, misery and all that is not in accordance with your elements.

Therefore, your deeds from the simplest to the most complex must be God-like. When you rise in the morning, you are rising in the Glory and glamor of The Lord thus you must shine; be it on what you eat or what vacates your oral cavity. Your body is the ultimate representation of the light of The Lord. It must shine! It is a temple that must be maintained and renovated. You can neither feed it toxic matter nor emit contents of similar toxicity to others.

Once you become fully cognizant of the great attributes which you possess, then you and only you must work to constantly improve them in the hopes of eventually optimizing your potentials. Once you bring forth actions that are in correspondence with these abilities then you have shined in God’s light. If you bring forth actions that align with mankind’s light, then you will shine in worldly matters i.e. materialism, superficiality et al. Shining on earthly accomplishments and deeds is worthy of recognition and accolades; however, we are reminded in the book of Proverbs, that without God’s grace, our best deeds are like rugged rugs to Him.

What is your reflection?

Now let us put these two instructions in proper perspective –from the viewpoint of our daily experiences, or from a platform of the human experience. “Arise” + “shine”. The Lord is telling us that once we have risen (originated into being), we must shine in His presence, and that in the pursuit of our own happiness, we must put in adequate effort. It is only when we put in enough effort that we get to realize the latter part of the first sentence of Isaiah 60:1.

Once you come into existence and shine (optimize your maximum bestowed abundance of fortitude), only then can you realize that your light has indeed come. And once that light is shone on you, there is nothing but positive energy, prosperity, and greatness to be harnessed from it. This was better echoed by former NBA superstar, Larry Bird who once said: “I’ve got a theory that if you give 100% all the time, somehow things will work out at the end.

This endowed light can neither be created nor destroyed. It can only be transferred. We will explore that in the context of Glory.

“And the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.” Now, once you realize that your light has come, and that you have been blessed by the Lord to extents that even the most profound of gratitude and humility would not be enough to thank Him, then you must share your light with those around you to fully marvel at the glory of the Lord.

For when you share your light will you conversely shine brighter than the brightest of stars on the darkest of nights. This is better articulated in Revelations 21:11 “It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal.”

When you use your bright light to ignite someone else’s candle then the Glory of the Lord has indeed risen upon you. A wise lady once told me: “Blowing out another person’s candle won’t make yours shine any brighter…” This was later expounded by another wise lady: “but your candle won’t lose any flame if you light someone else’s…” This is the true essence of being in the Glory of the Lord once one has risen and shone.

May you rise and shine in this life defining moment, for your light has come, and the glory of The Lord is upon thee.

Instagram @theUbiquitousAlexRed