Ann and I are in New Zealand visiting our eldest daughter. They live about 10 minutes from the small city of Gisborne on the east coast of the north island. The city’s motto is “First to See the Light,” based upon their location: closest city to the international dateline.
So we see the sun come up before anyone else in the world—although the distinction is rather artificial—that’s where the dateline was placed by the early British “time travelers,” 180 degrees across the planet from Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) in England.
But it was significant enough for a 30 minute TV segment from Gisborne to be broadcast around the world at the turn of the millennium. And real enough that I get up before any of you on any given day while we are here! Of course, that may be comforting—you get to lie in!
However, that is not the end of the Gisborne light story. The light here is different! I first noticed this as it begins to get light: white surfaces exude a phosphorescent glow. Heather, our daughter, tells me the surrounding grassy hills produce a glow in the half light.
Later, a photographer told me that photographers from around the world come to New Zealand as the light produces enhanced colours. Not something the naked eye or a common photo taker can see, but a sufficient difference to be professionally recognized.
Why? Clearer air; reflections from the south polar icecap? No-one seems to know. A bit like Jesus’ description of the wind—you can’t tell its origin or destination, but you can feel it and see its passage through the trees.
The presence of God is like that—indefinable, unexplainable, but at times unavoidable. It defies empirical evidence, yet is common experience. Above all, the illumination of the Holy Spirit gives insight to spiritual things unobtainable anywhere else.