Coming to the Light
Which do you prefer? Light or darkness? Do you ever choose to be in total darkness? I loved living on a farm, away from all the city lights. I am also old enough not to have experienced lights on many of the devices we use in homes today. It is very difficult to get my house totally dark today. So I am one of those persons who loves to drive out to some place where I can see the light of the stars at night. There is something about being able to distinguish darkness and light!
Light and darkness is a great metaphor for reflection in Lent. Have you ever preferred darkness to light? Some people pout, cling to depression, hold on to anger rather than embrace the light of grace. Some people lament all the evil that is going on in the world. They can name the suffering loudly and clearly. They can grumble about all that is wrong with family, church, country, and world. To stay there is to choose darkness.
Evil is a darkness that makes us mute, not able to speak, paralyzed with fear and a lack of faith. We shut down with a sense of powerlessness. Evil also makes us obstinate or stubborn in our mistakes and wrong views. We can become overly critical and lose any sense of reason.
And evil overcomes when it undermines our unity with emphasis on what irritates us and uses differences as an excuse for failing to see the light.
What does it mean then to come to the light? We use expressions like “Enlighten me!” Can you “shed some light on this”? At ACTS retreats we sing “Light of the world, shine on me!” over and over again.
Essentially, for me it means to ask what did Jesus do? How did Jesus turn darkness into light? It wasn’t easy. Love, mercy, compassion, healing, and ultimately the largest sacrifice of all—suffering and death—because “God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten Son.”
Jesus’ sight—his paying attention—led him to heal many who lived in darkness. He gave voice to changing unjust practices and laws. He cured those who were paralyzed by illness and social stigma. He poured light on so many social sins of his day. He spoke and he acted.
Where do we see light? How do we cast light in the darkness we encounter today? How and when do we seek God’s grace?
Try making a chart listing examples of darkness in one column. Then do the same for light. May courage, faith, resistance, resilience, and God’s grace be with us! May our works be clearly seen as done in God!