A Brief Lesson in Optics

light through a prism

Optics –

a science that deals with the genesis and propagation of light, the changes that it undergoes and produces, and other phenomena closely associated with it”

Merriam-Webster

So what do we know about light, and why should I care? How ‘bout these factoids?

  • Light is a natural energy produced to make things able to be seen
  • Light energy is always moving
  • Light is an electromagnetic wave, one of 7
  • Light travels at 186,000 mph
  • Light is plants sole source of food – therefore light provides food to all life
  • Light is vital for growth, sleep and body rhythms
  • Light is stored in all carbohydrates, therefore vital to our nutrition
  • All objects produce light (electromagnetic waves), we just can’t see them
  • Visible light accounts for less than one ten-billionth of the electromagnetic spectrum – so that means there is waaaaaaay more to be seen than is actually being seen.

We should care about light because as shown by the above facts, without light, life on earth would cease. The end. Fin. La Fin. Mwisho. Das Ende. Fim. Ang Dulo.

Allow me to remind you of some interesting features of light.

Light travels in waves, and always in a straight line. If an object gets in lights way – the light wave will bend, refract or get absorbed by the object. The actual wave or light beams, are made of zillions of air packets of light – called photons.

Visible light is what allows us to see colors and beauty. You actually see things when light enters your eye. That light can be from one of two sources – a light bulb or refracted light, which is much more common. If no light enters the eye, you see black – darkness. And to restate, all objects produce light, they create electromagnetic waves, the problem is that humans can’t see them.

Light not only benefits all life but is absolutely needed for life to exist. In addition, light is needed for drying and evaporation on earth. It is needed for sanitation on and scavenging in earth. Light actually raises earth’s temperature and therefore maintains not only temperature but life.

photosynthesis

Light is used in medicine and in all sorts of human applications.

Two more light tid bits and then we will drive this all home, okay?

Plato, the great philosopher once thought humans could shoot light from our eyes. Boy, what would this world be like if we could? I guess you can’t always be a genius, Mr. Plato.

A “jiffy” is a unit of measure that dictates how long it takes for light to travel up to a centimeter. So, when we say, “I’ll be back in a jiffy”, we’re making a pretty fast trip! ha ha Light travels so fast (186,000 mph) that if a human were to travel at the speed of light, in one second they could circumnavigate earth 7.5 times!!!! That’s MORE than a jiffy. Geesh!

We’ve shined the light on light’s characteristics, let’s focus now on another aspect of light.

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

Matthew 5:14-16 ESV

As we have been for the past few weeks, we peek here into The Sermon on the Mount, preached by Jesus some 400 years after the close of the Old Testament era. Here, He was, newly introduced by his cousin John, as the worthy Lamb of God, who was the One spoken of. He went up to a mountain, and Sat down where thousands gathering around Him to hear Him teach about His kingdom ways.

BAM! The first words out of His mouth are eight values of the kingdom of God. (poor in spirit, mourn, meek, hunger and thirst for righteousness, merciful, pure in heart, peacemakers, persecuted for righteousness sake) Then, He uses the analogy that these values are like salt, and as His followers live by them, they are actually salting, seasoning and presevering the earth. (For more see the past 3-4 Sunday Sermon blogs.)

Now, He makes another analogy or metaphor comparing the followers in His kingdom to light.

Your lives light up the world.”

Matthew 5:15 TPT

Wait. What? How can I, a simple little human living in Southern California light up the world? I just get up, go to work, love my family, and try to be kind to others, then get up the next day and do the same. “Light up the world” is a rather hefty statement, Jesus. But is it?

From the very beginning of creation, God’s focus has been on light.

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.”

Genesis 1:3 ESV

And God said, “Let there be lights in the heavens to separate the day from the night…and let them be lights to give light upon earth…And it was so…And God made two great lights – the greater to rule the day and the lesser to rule the night…and God set them to give light on the earth… to rule over the day and the night… to separate light from darkness.”

Genesis 1:14-18 ESV

Light’s design on earth has always been to give life, to give light to the earth, to separate light from darkness, and to rule.

It’s funny that God said in Genesis 1:14 – “let there be lights” and Jesus said, in Matthew 5:14, “You are the light”. Jesus was telling us that as we live His kingdom values, and under His kingdom authority, we shine as light does in the world. We light up the darkness, we are the light. But how?

With Jesus, the light of the world, John 8:12, living in us, our kingdom actions and choices are seen by others. They are a light pointing the way in darkness. They are energy waves, illuminating from us, picked up by people, bouncing off of them, or being absorbed by them. Our words and actions, our auora even, distinguishes us, separates us, as “different” – because we are carriers of The Light. Sometimes people, really can see our light and they should. It should be giving light to all in the house. It should be on a stand for all to see. We should be standing for the Light of the kingdom.

As light, our course is a straight path. His Word is our true North, and we don’t waver off course. We bounce off of some people, bring clarity to others, and expose still others. Our light sanitizes or helps to clean up dirty places in people (and us), while at the same time bringing warmth to the cold hearts of some walking our earth.

Our light is earth’s medicine. Earth’s life. Without our light, the earth would be enveloped in total darkness.

But our light is meant to give life, bring light, separate and rule the darkness. Darkness will never overpower our light or even understand it. John 1:5

God has set the lights in the sky, just as he has set brightly lit cities on hills. Those cities are filled with zillions of photon-people, like YOU, litting up not only their city, but the darkness. In much the same way that the Israelites’ homes were filled with light, during the ninth plague of darkness that gripped Egypt. Exodus 10:23

Our light helps all to see beauty, color, distinction. Our light can be like a light bulb, shining when needed in a dark space or refracted light- shining and bending back. Refracted light will change – and speed up, depending on the substance it is entering. It adjusts to the object. Without refracted light, focus is lost.

It matters little whether you are a light bulb or being refracted, as long as you are shinning.

Don’t hide your light.”

Matthew 5:16 TPT

These may well be days of darkness, but they are too, days of separation and distinction. They are days of waves of light beaming upon our earth, once again bringing light to the earth, and ruling over the darkness. Just as God originally intended.

May these words serve as a prism for you which will inspire and challenge you to burst forth in colorful, visible light upon your world.

Our world needs a brief lesson in optics.

Debbie

Sources

Factcity.com facts-about-light

Afrilcate.com facts-about- light

Study.com/academy/lesson/factsoflight

Light – studyread.com/uses of light

Wired.com – light

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