by John Bryan, 08/01/2017
Every story must begin somewhere. And this one begins on the seaside. Nature loves to hold on to mysteries, as if to disclose them meant she’ll lose a part of herself. For a long time, it was a mystery how turtle hatchlings found the sea. Perhaps the gentle sound of waves was calling out to them, saying “come, this is the way home.” But there is a stronger explanation. Not the call of the sea, but light from the moon glistening upon the horizon (Rivas, Tomillo, Uribeondo, & Marco, 2015). These turtles follow the moonlight as it reflects over the ocean. They keep their eyes on its glow, as they make their way towards the freedom that the ocean brings.
Seldom is victory gained at little cost, and we as humans have added many costly obstacles to their already rough path. Light pollution from nearby cars, streets, and buildings have begun to disorient these hatchlings (Howell, 2013). Their gaze once steadfast, has now been compromised by the multitude of brighter, and more attractive lights. Not only do these lights lead away from the safety of the ocean, they lead towards the dangers of streets and sewers.
We are not so different from these hatchlings. In our Christian journey, we hear the voice of One say, “Do you see yonder shining light? Keep that light in your eye, and go directly to it” (Bunyan, 1628, p. 11). There are a multitude of lights, attractive and distracting, that will divert our gaze. Like the atoms in a molecule, drawn together by falling to their lowest energy state, so too are we effortlessly drawn and attracted to the lowliness of the world. “If they kept their eyes fixed on Jesus, who was just before them, leading them to the city, they were safe. But soon some grew weary, and said the city was a great way off, and they expected to have entered it before” (White, 1915, p. 64). Like these molecules, it takes energy and effort to tear apart those bonds; to separate us from the world, and not be distracted by it. Yet the Light of Christ is soft and steady, and anyone willing to keep their eyes on it will—like the turtle hatchlings—find the shores of salvation. As it is written, “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.” (Isaiah 45:22, KJV).
Bunyan, J. (1628). The Pilgrim’s Progress. Grand Rapids: Christian Classics Ethereal Library.
Howell, E. (2013, June 7). Light Pollution Deters Nesting Sea. Retrieved from Live Science: http://www.livescience.com/37278-light-pollution-sea-turtle-nesting.html
Rivas, M. L., Tomillo, P. S., Uribeondo, J. D., & Marco, A. (2015). Leatherback hatchling sea-finding in response to artificial lighting: Interaction between wavelength and moonlight. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 143-149.
White, E. G. (1915). Life Sketches of Ellen G. White. Mountain View: Pacific Press Publishing Association.