Light When It Comes
“Light When It Comes: Trusting Joy, Facing Darkness, and Seeing God in Everything,” the latest title from Chris Anderson, will be published October 2016 by Eerdmans Press. It is available for preorder here. The media kit can be downloaded here.
Chris Anderson pays fierce tender attention, and you will be illuminated somehow when you
read what he saw, what he sings of the holy everywhere around us.
The shock of stars at five a.m. The bright belt of Orion and the arc and sweep of those other brilliant, nameless lights and even the blackness glittering. The smell of wood smoke and fir. The cold, damp air.
I hear the voice of my wife calling from another room: “Do you know where I put my book?”
Standing at the sink rinsing out a bowl, I look up and see a strand of a spider web rising and falling, made visible by the wind. Then another and another, looping from the willow to the roof. Glinting on and off. As if all the shingles and boards of the house are secretly bound with thread.
We all have moments like this, moments that move us somehow, that seem to mean something we can’t quite put into words, but we are embarrassed by them or we doubt them or in the rush of things that happen to us each day we forget about them.
My purpose in this book is to help you remember the moments, and to trust in those moments, to believe in them, because however small they are, however fleeting, moments like this can lead us to God.
This is the idea of the examen of conscience, the much-loved prayer of St. Ignatius, that God is always calling us, the Spirit is always moving in our lives. The examen is a simple but powerful way of remembering, and I mean the scenes and stories that follow to be examples of how it works, how it keeps deepening and opening up.
At the end of each day:
we remember the light and give thanks for the light;
we remember the darkness and ask for forgiveness, and refuge, and strength;
and we let it all go–we ask for the grace to follow the light, to know what we should do—but then we leave it all to God, trusting in his kindness.
The light of grace is always shining, it’s always pouring down, though it’s refracted and scattered and easy to miss, and so one way to pray is to look back on the moments of our day and recall when we saw the light breaking through, and when we didn’t, when we felt it being blocked or opposed.
And then releasing–waiting, too, for an idea to form or an intuition to emerge about what God is calling us to do—but waiting with the knowledge that these things are mysteries, beyond understanding, and trying to give up our need for control.
Be not afraid, Jesus says. We don’t have to resolve the tensions, and we don’t have to reconcile the opposites, and we can’t. All we can do is live with things the way they are, trusting the days to God–remembering the darkness and remembering the light, and holding them both in our hearts, together, side-by-side.
Our longing. Our grief.
The stars and the web.
The voice of the one we love, calling from another room.
from the Preface to Light When It Comes
A video from SkEye Studios with excerpts from the book:
An interview segment about the book from Eerdmans Publishing:
Chris Anderson offers us a triune gift wrapped into a whole: beautiful prose, pastoral
experience, and an authentic believing eye turned to our world. This volume is a grace to be
received with abundant thanks.
– Lawrence S. Cunningham