Darkness and Light
I’m writing this as I pray through the events of yesterday, January 6, 2021, at our nation’s capital, and all that has led to this point. Many commenting on these events have referred to dark days, dark times and similar language. Indeed, these are dark times.
Of course, the first response of the Christian community should be prayer. When confronted with darkness, horrors, evil and calamities, we turn to Jesus. We turn to Jesus not because we expect a simplistic solution or quick and easy answers, but because it is there that we find light, a path, and the strength to take that first step.
In the days to come there will be plenty of finger pointing and blame. Indeed, it is already at a fever pitch. I doubt any person or group will come out unscathed. Although I have my opinions, I’ll not start down that path here. My purpose here is to speak to the community of Christians here at St. John’s about how we move forward from this moment.
As I again looked over the lessons assigned for Sunday, the first Sunday after the Epiphany, I was struck by the Old Testament lesson. I’ve read it, taught it, and preached it many times, but today it has new meaning for me.
“In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light.” Genesis 1:1-3
It feels like a formless void of darkness now. But light comes. God promises light.
Notice that light doesn’t actually fix the problem. Light enables us to see the true nature of the problem. Light enables us to see one another. The light of God doesn’t make the problem magically disappear, but the light moves us from darkness and fear to truth and community, and from there we can face whatever challenges are before us.
Light makes life and growth possible. That’s why light is the first gift of creation — it is light that makes all the other gifts possible. While not taking the challenges away, light provides the energy we need to stand up for another day.
Instead of turning immediately to finger pointing (I know that temptation well), let’s turn to God and seek the light. The risk, of course, is that light is indiscriminate. It lights our own darkness as well. We may be tempted to pray for light to shine upon our enemy’s darkness, but that light shines on us as well and we must embrace the light of Christ wherever it shines and whatever it exposes.
Remember the promise of John: “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.” (John 1:5)
NOTE: I wrote at greater length about how Christians walk through a time such as this (before the events of Jan. 6). It is in the January – February 2021 edition of the Good News. Click here.
This column appeared in the January 10, 2021 edition of St. John’s eNews. Click here for the complete issue.
If you are reading this at a different time, you may click here for the current eNews.