When I was a child, I prayed one consistent prayer. I knew, even then, that the most important thing I could do in life was to be like Jesus for others, and so I prayed that Jesus would help me be the kind of person who reflects his love. Even as a child, I must have known I was never meant to be the sun, shining for all, but instead, to act as the moon, reflecting the brightness of Jesus.
The sun is bright and powerful, bringing life and filling us with joy. We love being in its presence but can’t bear to look at its brilliance for fear it will blind us. The moon, though, is approachable. It offers us the light of the sun through a gentle, comforting glow and invites us to gaze upon its beautiful light.
Sometimes, God can feel like the harsh sun; too much for us to bear. When we are anxious or sad or guilty and listing all of the ways we have wronged God and others, our feelings of unworthiness make God’s love unattainable. We wonder how God can still love us and are fearful to step straight into the light.
Instead, we sit in the dark, gathering courage in the hope that one day, we will once again believe that we are worthy of God’s love. The chasm that exists between the darkness of our lives and the brightness of the sun can feel vast and unbridgeable, which is why we need something in the middle. When we live in this space, we need the calming presence of the moon, reflecting the beauty of God’s love and inviting us to follow that love out of the darkness.
For me, the moon is Mary, Jesus’ mother. She sits between her son and me, gently guiding me along the path towards light when I need the extra help. Mary is the mother who comes after us with abandon. She isn’t content to sit back and watch us struggle. Instead, Mary ventures out into the night, recognizing the quiet whimpers that escape our lips when we are afraid, knowing exactly when the love of a mother is what we need most.
Walking straight towards God, towards the brilliance of the sun, can be overwhelming, but that’s why we have Mary and why we have each other. This life is for all of us, and step by step we can together be the church Jesus was hoping we could become: a people who live life with such holiness, love, concern, and care for others, that God is obviously reflected in our lives.