For many decades the motto of Welch College has been taken from Psalm 43:3: “O send out thy light and thy truth.” This has been symbolized in the official College Seal, about which my colleague Dr. E. Darrell Holley wrote the following:
“The College Seal represents the College’s belief in the total integration of a Biblical Christian Faith and the tradition of the Christian liberal arts. The open book is thus both the Holy Scriptures and the world of letters. Superimposed on the book is Psalm 43:3, ‘O send out Thy light and Thy Truth.’ This verse speaks of the College’s devotion to the truth of God’s Word and the truth revealed in nature, as well as to the College’s dedication to the evangelical task of making God’s truth known to all. This belief is re-emphasized by the torch behind the open book. The torch, the symbol of this light, is winged to emphasize the College’s aim of sending the light of God’s truth throughout the world.”
I want to meditate in this blog post on this verse. It gets to the heart of our radical need of God’s light and truth in the midst of our dark, distorted world. Without the light and truth of the Father, Son, and Spirit, we will never be free to be who God created us to be. We will never be truly human, truly the image of God. But we know, through Christ, that Christ’s light and truth has the power to transform us and recreate us in the image of God’s dear Son, and that changes everything, for the here and now, and for eternity.
The context shows us that the psalmist is in trouble. This is good news for us, because we’re in trouble. We’re perennially in trouble because of our sin and alienation from God. This condition makes us not operate the way our creator designed us to. So everything in our lives is out of kilter, and things can be set right only by a relationship with our creator and his truth, as we conform to his life and his ways.
But not only are we in trouble individually, our culture is in trouble. The current culture we’re part of here in the West is entering a post-Christian phase in which it is setting itself, more and more, against God and his truth. This psalm helps us see what we need to do when we’re in this sort of trouble. What does the psalmist say the answer is to dealing with the predicament we’re in?
The psalmist says, Lord, the thing I need most of all when I feel overwhelmed by trouble all around me, when you seem absent, when I am in deep distress, the thing I need most of all is your light and your truth.
So in the next two posts, I want us to ponder these two things the psalmist says are the answer to the deep despondency he finds himself in.