Located off the northern shore of Norway, the island village of Sommaroy attracts visitors to its white sand beaches and picturesque scenery. It barely occupies a dot on the map, but approximately 350 residents call Sommaroy home, and tourism and fishing drive its economy. The island is so far north that the months of November to January are shrouded in continual darkness, but constant sunlight fills the sky for 69 days leading up to the summer solstice, from May 18 to July 26.
According to news reports, last summer Sommaroy residents petitioned the Norwegian parliament to allow them to designate the island a time-free zone. Eliminating time would be liberating, they argued. Instead of being a slave to the clock, you could use the extra daylight for recreation or to finish home improvement projects, and sleep whenever your body says to rest. The petition appears to have been an advertising gimmick designed to entice tourists to visit a carefree land where you could throw your watch away and literally kill time. Kjell Ove Hveding, who spearheaded the No Time campaign, quipped, “Here, you don’t need to tell the kids to come in before it gets dark, because if you do that, you will not see them before August.”
The Time-Free Zone Where No Darkness Dwells
Christians look forward to a time-free zone, not in Norway but in Heaven. “There will be no night there” in our eternal home (Revelation 21:25), and we already taste that heavenly sunlight now. David declared, “The Lord is my light and my salvation” (Psalm 27:1). Isaiah described the messianic age when he wrote, “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light,” and he predicted, “the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory” (Isaiah 9:2; 60:19). “God is light; in him is no darkness at all,” wrote the beloved disciple (1 John 1:5). Followers of Christ have been called “out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9). We “live as children of light” (Ephesians 5:8), for Christ brings clarity and vision to a gloomy, murky world.
The windows of the temple in Jerusalem were constructed with a unique design. In those days builders normally made windows narrow on the outside and wide on the inside, to allow maximum light to disperse inside the house while keeping intruders from crawling inside. The windows of the temple, however, were built the opposite way. They were narrow on the inside of the wall and wide on the outside, symbolizing how the presence of God emanates from the temple and illuminates the world. It was said that travelers coming to Jerusalem could see the glow of the temple’s candles and lanterns shining in the night sky.
But a brighter light was coming—an everlasting light that shone from a baby in Bethlehem who personally embodied the glory of God, and who three decades later would declare, “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12).
Even in the frigid darkness of a Norwegian winter, Christ brings light and life unlimited by time and space. He sends his followers to reflect and disperse his light to the world (Matthew 5:14-16). Whatever happens around us, whatever tumult awaits us, whatever challenges the future holds, in the eternal Son of God all is calm, all is bright.
David Faust serves as the Associate Minister at East 91st Street Christian Church in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Lesson study ©2018, Christian Standard Media. Lesson based on The Lookout’s Scope and Sequence ©2018. Scripture quotations are from the New International Version, ©2011, unless otherwise indicated.