Light and Darkness. Polar opposites, but without one, the other does not exist. As least in my opinion. I suppose scientists would disagree with me. So let me re-phrase that… without one, the other is less understood. In other words, how could we understand light if we didn’t know darkness? How could we see the shining stars unless they were set against a black sky? How could we squint our eyes in the daylight without seeking to see, wide-eyed in the nighttime? How could we enjoy basking in the sunlight without shivering beneath the clouds? Light and Dark. Opposites that modify each other more and more as we take in each and understand them more fully.
But light and dark are symbolic words too. Good and evil. Right and wrong. Happiness and Depression. And in between the light and darkness we oscilate as people and as Christians.
Go therefore into all the world. Into the light and into the darkness. Without discrimination. Into the whole world we go.
Go where the sleepers sleep in their pajamas made of pinstripes which they wear wandering through Wall Street dreaming of the rich and famous. Go where the farmers farm and labor over their fields producing crops that feed their families and feed the world, crops grown only by this world, this earth, this soil that makes the world go round. Go where the dancers dance to forget their aging bodies and sorrowed souls. Go where the singers sing a simple song with chords that soothe the sailors. Go where the people are happy and go where they are sad. Go where you find the most energetic and go to the most weary and tired. Go to the children and the adults and the infants and the elderly. Go to the lands of peace and go to the lands of war. Go the churches and go to the courtrooms.
Go into the light and into the dark. Without discrimination of place or people, you are called to go…
But wherever you go, carry light with you.
A candle if you’ve got it. A glimmer of hope. A story of a healer. A year of faith under your belt.
Or a lantern if you’re lucky. A sacred text. A relationship with a Savior. An awe for a creator. Light the way with the lantern if you’ve got it.
Or maybe you have a church, a community. And you’ve got not only the text, but the tools for interpretation too. And even as your God created you, so do you use your gifts to keep on creating and shouting out “Good!” If you have this sort of light, cling to it, carry it, call it’s name in the dark, for those who have found this light have a great responsibility to shine brightly into the darkness.
Take what you’ve received and share it.
Whatever your light, let it shine.
Let it shine. Let it shine. Let it shine.
I’ve gotten to the point where I can look back at my thirty years of life (or at least the years I can remember) and reflect on them. I see periods of darkness during some months, some years, but also periods of light. Happier times, easier times interlocked with troubling, painful times. The fourth plague in Egypt was the plague of darkness. Darkness came over the land in Egypt so that no one could see or work or do anything. But not only was it dark outside, but the Bible described it as “darkness that could be felt.” Many of us have probably felt that sort of darkness in our lives. Darkness of greed, jealousy, divorce, illness… darkness that can be felt. Likewise, many of us have felt the times of true joy, the release, the exodus, the wealth of family, friends, purpose and belonging. As I survey these periods of my life, and I categorize them as dark and light times, I find that the edges of my distinctions are not always so clear. I fade in and out of darkness and light in and out and not always because of what I’ve done or not done, where I’ve gone or not gone, what I’ve seen or not seen. Light and dark just is. They are. They exist. They are constants.
After night comes the light and dawn is here.
Every single day.
One of the metaphors used to describe Jesus in the Bible is light – especially used in the book of John which we read from earlier. In Jesus there is no darkness. In Jesus every tear will be wiped away and every soul cleansed. So that only light remains. Only goodness triumphs.
The best part about Jesus is that even in darkness Jesus reigns. Even in sadness, Jesus reigns. Even in danger, Jesus reigns. The light is even in the darkness. And the light is especially needed in the darkness. There is no need to be afraid.
And so wherever we are in our lives: whether we understand the darkness one can feel brushing up against our skin as we plod through life holding our breath, or whether we rest contented in the light of peace and joy and comfort; whether we reside in the dark or in the dawn, we carry in us the eternal light that was in the beginning and in the end.
“What has come into being in Jesus was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.”