Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Psalms 23:4 KJV
Shadow of death. What is a shadow? I recently sat in a Lutheran church during a memorial service for friend’s father where the pastor recited Psalm 23. Interesting, though common, psalm used in such services. Interesting because I took particular notice of the word shadow in this verse.
Often we associate shadow with darkness, evil, bad things. For some reason I picture a Marvel movie in my head. Anyway, is this really an accurate assessment of a shadow?
Dictionary.com defines it this way:
- a dark figure or image cast on the ground or some surface by a body intercepting light.
- shade or comparative darkness, as in an area.
- shadows, darkness, especially that coming after sunset.
I like the first one. Read that again…
A dark figure cast on the ground or some surface by a body
While I sat in that church, I noticed a ceiling fan above me and the shadow on the ceiling above it. The shadow was created by the fan intercepting or blocking the light below. This caused me to wonder, what if shadows aren’t meant to be signs of darkness, but signs of light with something blocking the light from getting through?
What if shadow isn’t meant to point to darkness, but to point to light and warn of darkness? A shadow is caused by something blocking the light creating darkness, not by something blocking the darkness and creating light. Wouldn’t it then make sense that in order to get more light, you would simply move the object that is blocking the light and creating darkness?
This may be easy when physical objects are in the way.
“No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house.”
Matthew 5:15 NLT
Of course, putting a lamp under a basket would simply be silly and would catch fire. Very bad! Don’t try this at home. But if there is something blocking physical light like this, you simply move that object.
How does this translate in reference to Jesus? If Jesus is the light, what shadows exist of objects blocking the light of Jesus from getting through to you and to those around you? Is it easier to define the shadows so that we can ultimately define the objects and remove them? I think these answers differ individually for everyone, but there are also communal answers that apply to everyone.
These are the things I was thinking about at a memorial service in a Lutheran church. Does this idea make sense? Does it resonate with anyone? What shadows are reflecting objects that are blocking the light of Jesus?
I look forward to reading your thoughts and prayer requests.