The Lovely Weight of Light

This morning’s sermon was on Isaiah’s beautiful prophecy in ch. 9: “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness – on them light has shined.” It reminded me of a wonderful sentence in a novel I just finished reading. The protagonist is dying a slow death. He now sleeps most of the time, awaiting the end.

Something heavy was pressing upon his eyelids. He felt them tremble and then he managed to get them open. It was light that he felt, the bright sunlight of an afternoon. (Stoner, by John Williams, NYRB edition, p. 275. By the way, he’s not a drug addict; he’s a perfectly respectable professor by the name of William Stoner.)

As you no doubt know, the Hebrew word for “glory” (kabod or qabowd) literally means “heaviness” or “weightiness.” God’s glory is typically pictured as a great light in the Old Testament. As I heard the sermon, my mind wandered to this apt description of waking up in bright sunlight.