He seems to think it is the Riviera, but it’s only the bedroom rug. Still Baxter loves the feel of it on these sunny days when the light comes streaming into the windows. He lies in the direct rays, fully stretched out, and basks in the warmth. He won’t move, so that he can soak it all in. I have warned him of the dangers of overexposure to the sun’s rays, but he can’t resist the light and warmth. I haven’t noticed a tan, or worse, a burn. I wonder if that happens to cats. Baxter just closes his eyes and seems to get lost in the tranquility of a perfect weather day. It’s like he IS on vacation at an exotic resort without a care in mind.
We have been told to avoid overexposure to the sun. Its UV rays cause skin cancer at worst, and premature aging at best. Still many people can’t resist the allure of the sun. They love the feel of its warmth on their skin and the look of a “healthy” tan. So many are attracted to the sunlight that even when there is none to be had, they buy an artificial version in tanning salons. Like Baxter, it doesn’t have to be perfect circumstances to enjoy the effects. A glass and metal container with tube lights all around a person when they lie down does the trick for many to feel better about their looks.
Too bad that we don’t have the same sense about the light of the Risen Lord and its warmth for our lives. It may not darken our skin tone, but it can change the tone of our attitudes towards others and our world. Christ’s light shows us that despite the factors that circumstances bring to bear, there is a difference between good and evil, between holiness and hypocrisy, between true service and self-aggrandizement or control of others in the name of charity. This light penetrates beyond the surface of ourselves and others to allow us to see our souls and the common desire we share for God’s forgiveness, healing and love. The warmth of this light is the love of God, and in this love, we can dare to look at ourselves and others differently. We don’t have to be afraid that we won’t be good enough in this light. No worries need arise about being too fat or thin, too pale or blemished when we bathe in the Son’s light. On this beach, only our true selves can soak in the rays of divine love. Everything else blocks the Son’s effects.
And these effects are truly beautiful. We become people with purpose, for we see ourselves as carrying on the very work of God in our world. So we take responsibility for making a better world through our job, families and citizenship. We wear our faith clearly for others to see, yet we assume it humbly, for we know it is a gift. It becomes like a tan, a part of our skin, which we can’t take on and off at our convenience or depending upon the circumstance. We live in the light of Christ 24/7, and this light enters into every place with every person with whom we live our lives. We stretch ourselves to take in as much of it as we can, yet we relax, trusting that it will be there for us when needed. God’s beach is the world and His sunbathers are everyone who seeks Him with a sincere heart. We share the beach with others when we respect their soulful search for the everlasting light. Then we can be God’s witnesses by naming the light, Christ, and the warmth, God’s love. Finally, we step back, and let the Light show the other person the way and the truth and the life for him or her.
Baxter loves the sunshine and seeks it when it shines. The Sonshine loves us and seeks out our souls all the time. Take the time and effort to allow the light of Christ to shine on us and through us. We will all look better for the exposure.