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Supermoon


“And the light which shineth, which giveth you light, is through him” (D&C 88:11)

As I write this, I have just come in the house from watching the moon. Tonight’s full moon is called a “supermoon.” A supermoon occurs when the moon is at its closest point to the earth (perigee) in its fullest phase. A supermoon is exceptionally big and bright—as much as 14% bigger and 30% brighter than an average full moon. Tonight’s supermoon is particularly impressive for tonight the moon is closer to the earth than it has been since 1948 or will be again until 2034. It may be the brightest moon in my lifetime. One might say that it is a super, supermoon.

I went out to Laie Point to see the supermoon. It was a truly spectacular, enchanting sight. The moon’s luminosity was more intense than I had ever seen before. It lit up the night sky and the surrounding clouds, and cast a shimmering, silver path across the sea from the horizon up to the shore. Here is a picture I took on my phone:

As I gazed at the supermoon, I realized that for as bright as this moon was, its light is still reflected light.  Unlike the light from the sun and stars, moonlight does not originate in the moon but in the sun. The moon functions as a sort of celestial mirror, reflecting the light of the sun back to earth. 

This thought reminded me of a scripture.  Jesus tells the Nephites to “hold up your light that it may shine unto the world. Behold I am the light which ye shall hold up—that which ye have seen me do” (3 Ne. 18:24).  The light we are to hold up is also reflected light; it comes not from the sun but from the Son. The Lord invites us to be celestial mirrors, as it were, which reflect the light of the Son.  

And the nearer we draw to Christ, the more brightly and intensely we reflect His light.  As we do “that which ye have seen me do,” our light will glow brighter and brighter, so that others seeing His light in us will glorify God.  In a sense, we can become supermoons in our own right by drawing close to the Son.  

To be a light to the world is our privilege and our task as disciples.  In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says “Ye are the light of the world” (Matt 5:14).  In the Book of Mormon, this declarative statement is recast as an injunction.  Jesus tells the Nephites: “I give unto you to be the light of this people” (3 Ne. 12:14).  To be a light is an obligation, a task, a challenge.    

As we take up this task of discipleship properly, the light that emanates from us will point others to the source of light—to the Light.  As Jesus says, “Therefore let your light so shine before this people, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (3 Ne. 12:16).

We can thus become a sort of spiritual supermoon for others as we reflect the light of Christ.  Let us therefore strive to draw close to the source of light, that our light may reflect His light, bringing brightness and beauty into a darkening world. 

John Tanner

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