When I saw the commercial at the bottom of this post, my mind almost instantly went to a powerful and poetic text from the Book of Wisdom that begins, For when peaceful stillness compassed everything and the night in its swift course was half spent, Your all-powerful Word from heaven’s royal throne bounded, a fierce warrior, into the doomed land (Wisdom 18:14).
As the commercial begins, the lights go out in the room of a young man, much as the lights have gone out in Western culture. But the darkness does not last long, for a toy train leaps to life and, by its light, brings everything else to life and light.
In the Gospel music tradition there is reference to the “Glory train” and we are told to get our ticket and ride that train: Gonna ride that glory train…the only way you’ll ever get to heaven, is to ride that glory train. Another line says, Get on board children, there’s room for many a more!
And as this “glory train” rumbles through the darkened land of the room in this commercial, light and life are rekindle everywhere. And Jesus is the light of our life, and our very Life.
To be clear, the full context of the quote from Wisdom 18 is ominous, given its reference to the first Passover. Yet even from that deadly night, came new life, new light, a people set free to be given the Law, and be established as an outpost of light in a darkened world.
For when peaceful stillness compassed everything and the night in its swift course was half spent, Your all-powerful Word from heaven’s royal throne bounded, a fierce warrior, into the doomed land, bearing the sharp sword of your inexorable decree. And as he alighted, he filled every place with death; he still reached to heaven, while he stood upon the earth…..Yet not for long did the anger last. For the blameless man hastened to be their champion, bearing the weapon of his special office, prayer and the propitiation of incense; He withstood the wrath and put a stop to the calamity, showing that he was your servant.And he overcame the bitterness not by bodily strength, not by force of arms; But by word he overcame…. (Wisdom 18:14-23)
Enjoy this enchanted commercial and see in it, Christ our light. Pray with me for the miracle of our darkened West coming back to light and life.