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Light Relief

June 10, 2018
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‘To go in the dark with a light is to know the light’ ~ Wendell Berry

We will have to turn (or return) to poetry, but for now, more song (and dance!). As we’ve been seeing and hearing, 2018 is a great year for new albums: George Ezra, Leon Bridges, Ben Howard, Tom Read, Roo Panes, and – I discovered recently – Ray LaMontagne.

I’ve done some research – by that I mean I’ve listened and re-listened to all of Ray LaMontagne’s albums to date from ground-breaking Trouble in 2004 to sky-soaring Part of the Light in 2018 (plus I’ve read a few articles, none of which blew me away like his music does, although I was delighted to discover in one of them that Ray Lamontagne is married to a poet) – and I have come to the conclusion I had already made: Ray LaMontagne is a musical genius and, for all his mellow musings, a ray of sunshine.

The title of his new album intrigued me. Now we only see part of the light. Rays of sunshine. No Answer Arrives.

‘Where is the light?’ It’s a good question, but it might not be the right one to ask. ‘Who is the light?’ might be a step closer to the truth. When he arrived on earth, Jesus made a lot of claims, including this one: ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life’ (John 8:12).

If we are honest with ourselves, we know that we are in need of rescuing – from the darkness within and the darkness without. In one of his letters, Paul, a follower of Jesus, writes:

‘He [God] has rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins’ (Colossians 1:13-14).

The lyrics of Ray LaMontagne’s title track can be read as a kind of prayer, responding to the call out of darkness into the light of life through following Jesus, who is the light of the world:

I want to be part of the light. Please let me be part of the light. I choose to be part of the light.

Elsewhere, Paul writes:

‘For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ’ (2 Corinthians 4:6).

This light that used to shine when Jesus walked the earth can continue to shine in those who follow him, and anyone can join in the joy.

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