Shining, or Stark relief

To throw something into stark relief is to have something be compared with something else and become aware of the contrast. A stark relief moment happened this week while driving to work and I came across a collective of guinea fowl crossing over a road in Bellville.


A collective noun for guinea fowl is a ‘confusion’ of guinea fowl. This in and of itself is not unremarkable. I was a little miffed with the wanna-be chickens for blocking my path temporarily.


What is remarkable is that a few minutes before this I had found myself amidst a flock of human drivers, a ‘confusion’ if you will, not dissimilar from guinea fowl and my reaction to them was not as gracious. Not nearly as patient.


There became obvious a similarity in the flocking tendencies of guinea fowl and Cape Town drivers, but also a stark relief.


A stark relief in my reaction to said fowl (or foul driving). And a stark relief when considering how I should react.


A curious Newsboys song comes to mind about the Christian shining their light in the world. The world is dark: morally, spiritually and even unfortunately intellectually and if I or my Christian brothers don’t shine, then the world is going to remain a dark place indeed.


I had to repent of course, but I was also glad that I didn’t have a fish sticker on my car on this particular morning. Having a meltdown in traffic is not very Christ-like.


It’s vital that we remember that aside from occasional errors and selfish meanders, we return to what Christ said about His people:


We are the salt of the earth

We are the light of the world

We are to let our light shine before others

Let your light shine

It occurs to me that our character should be in ‘stark relief’ to the environment around us. The absence of salt or the absence of light is very noticeable: like eating a cold, bland steak in a dark room. Add salt and light and it’s a candlelit dinner with ambience and taste.


If we mess up, we repent and get back on the proverbial horse. This morning: no episodes of craziness on the way to work.


It also occurred to me that my lone light – although making a difference – is more noticeable among a collection of lights, a candelabra of Christians if you will.


It’s good to shine your light, but even better to shine as a collective.

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