The Peura Family

Brian & Jen
Zach & Kyle
Cook Family
Christmas Letters
Blakeway Calendar

Zachary Peura
7 Months

Through the Window

October 2, 1999

Shine Jesus shine, fill this land with the father’s glory
Blaze spirit blaze, set our hearts on fire.
Flow river flow, flood the nations with grace and mercy.
Send forth the word Lord, and let there be light.

Accompanied by electric guitar, our voices shimmied upward through the Sanctuary’s ceiling dome the first Saturday night we gathered to celebrate the fledgling Contemporary Communion Service. But if lifting our voices in song was memorable, it was the blazing light that blinded our eyes as we approached the altar to receive the Eucharistic meal that flooded those words which we had just sung with new meaning.

As we gaze on Your kingly brightness,
so our faces display Your lightness...
Shine on me. Shine on me.

Did you see it? Did you sense it? Did it speak to you?

It was just after 5 pm on a crisp fall Saturday evening in early October. The sun, low on the horizon, flooded through the Apostle’s stained glass window at Peace, blinding anyone bold enough to look at it. Its piercing light, magnified a thousandfold, streaked through the western window exploding into rainbows all over the church. And if you opened yourself to the message it ignited, you might have felt the force of its truth in the tug of your heartstrings. You might have been blinded by its power. Blinded by the sheer message of it. It was a blazing bush.

Some would call it merely an aggravation and protect their sight from its brightness, holding up a hand to visor their eyes. Others would scarcely notice the increase in lumens, too busy looking down, following the service in the bulletin, to see what was happening around them. But surely some sensed the presence of the Son who shatters our souls into a thousand pieces as his radiance proclaims holy ground and his light reaches through the depths of our senses to flame in our hearts.

Naturally there’s a logical explanation of it. Certainly the scientist among us could speak of the earth’s rotation and axis, apogee and perigee, coupled with impressive statistics of timing, place and event. And who could deny the luck of a clear sky or landscaping not yet overgrown by leafy trees or modern buildings blocking the setting sun cascading through the window?

But electrifying as this light was, we would not have noticed it had not the radiance around us ignited our hearts. We shone, not with our own light, but with the light of the one whose song we sing.

For we are the shadow casters, you and I. What we do, what we believe, even what we think casts shadows all around us. And these shadows are long, often probing places we knew not existed nor believed it possible to influence. Sometimes the shadows we cast bring solace to another or even comfort to ourselves, and we are blessed by them. But we are shadow keepers also. We look to each other hoping to find shelter, rest, care and love in the wings of the shadows others cast around us. And sometimes we hide, holed up in a shadow where we hope not to be noticed, looking only to lick our wounds in private. And the light shifts reminding us that our shadows exist only through the light which our Heavenly Father casts, and we are merely reflections of it.

As I sat in the second pew on the left and looked around at my brothers and sisters in Christ, I caught a few eyes. A few reciprocated my smile. One or two were so engrossed in singing with all their might that their eyes closed with the effort. Some merely mouthed the words, hoping that no one would hear a monotone drawl instead of a lyrical song. The children wriggled in their seats, their minds and bodies responding in ways that their parents only wished might happen in theirs. The music became them, freeing them to another place where boundaries don’t exist but imagination does. And the light continued to shine and cast shadows where none had been before.

But the light spun through us all, causing the music of our souls to dance where our feet stood stock still. The bush burned bright in our presence. And caused holy ground.