By Rebecca Riggs, Synod Communications Manager
As I think about all the wonderful threads of story shared at the 37th Synod, I have been asking myself: What brings a sense of renewal in me? What sparks my faith for a new season?
This year has not always been a massively easy or simple time – I wonder if anyone else can relate…There has been a lot of work to do, and we lost one of our team members, by which I mean that he resigned rather than that he might be found in that legendary third drawer down in the kitchen if we just looked a little harder. We have all been very busy moving towards Synod in Session which has been really exciting but there has been a lot to get over the line. There have been some frustrating realities, as there often are for all of us, and we just can’t fix it all right now. And if I look out into the world there is so much need – brokenness, war, illness, and inequality– and we certainly can’t fix all that right now.
I recently learned the term – “a glimmer” which is essentially the opposite of a trigger. Glimmers are micro-moments that bring joy and peace.
According to Deb Dana who coined the term, and who is a clinical social worker specialising in complex trauma – “Glimmers are the small moments when our body is in a place of connection or regulation, which cues our nervous system to feel safe or calm.”
The idea is that when we spend more time noticing the glimmers, we find a different way of seeing and being. I think that is so wonderful – in a time when there seem to be triggers everywhere – a Glimmer … a glimmer of hope… a glimmer of light….
As I reflected on the idea it made me think about all the very many times that light is written about in scripture.
I love that God’s first words in Genesis are – Let there be light! (Genesis 1:3) God speaks light into existence… and scientifically light is actually a precondition of life!
Later, God leads his people in a pillar of fire to give them light (Exodus 13: 21) for a safe and speedy journey and Psalms says Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on the path. (Psalms 119:105)
Light is our safety and our guide.
We are encouraged in Matthew not to hide our light- In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16) and we are called in Ephesians to be part of the light and be cleansed by it – Live as children of light for the fruit of the light is found in all that is good, right and true. (Ephesians 5:8)
Light can cleanse, purify, and change us.
We all face the triggers and the hard stuff, there is darkness in everyone’s life. The bible reminds us in John 1:5 that the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it, but it doesn’t ever say darkness doesn’t exist. I love that Micah in the midst of very dark times knows – when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me. (Micah 7:8)
The thing about darkness is that it isn’t actually a thing – you can’t remove it by the handful or put in in a box, or into that third drawer. Darkness is just the absence of light – where you bring light, the darkness is gone. For me – God is light and Jesus is the light of the world.
What I especially love about glimmers is that the light doesn’t need to be bright sunshine or a column of fire, in order to guide us, heal us, and change us.
I was baptised as an adult. I was really excited and happy, and I launched myself backwards into the water before anyone had a moment to guide me down. There is a wonderful photo of everyone laughing – I think because they were really happy that I hadn’t drowned.
I knew I would be happy and excited on that day – what I didn’t know was that I would feel the most profound change in myself – a sense of peace and wholeness that certainly surpassed my understanding – a sense that the world actually turned at a different speed, and that all was well. Every single time I think of that moment … that’s a glimmer.
I hope that through the day today, your glimmers come to mind, and that we all keep our eyes out for the glimmers that can make us smile and sigh and breathe deep whenever we need to.
Dear and wonderful God – I pray glimmers aplenty for all of us. Light to guide us and keep us safe, light to cleanse and purify, light to bring peace, hope and connection, and to push back the darkness.
And Jesus’ light to bring us life and lead us home.