Out of the Darkness Comes Greater Light
—John 1:4-5 (The Message)
Have you ever driven on a country road late at night where there are no streetlights and most of the houses have already turned off the porch light? Or perhaps you've been in a large city building during a power outage. The darkness can be overwhelming, especially on a stormy, foggy night or in a building with no windows. Finally, just as you are beginning to wonder if you are forever lost, you see a dim light in the distance. Your hands relax a bit, and you feel hopeful as you carefully move toward the light.
What does this have to do with Lent and our spiritual journey? Any journey requires a light to show us the way. Without this light, we cannot see the crevices or boulders that might cause us to fall. We would not see the false trails in time to avoid wrong turns.
Just as our physical travels need illumination, so our spiritual journeys require light. Our spiritual enlightenment may come from worshipping with community in a congregation. We may gain insight through mission studies or reading programs in our local United Methodist Women unit. Discernment events that provide prayer, meditation, Bible study and sharing time might highlight our sense of calling to ministries of love, justice and service. Or maybe, a random act of kindness by a stranger will brighten our way.
In this passage from John, we are told that light is the Word and that it is of God and is God. It is Jesus the Christ who has brought God's light into the world and into our lives. That light has burned through the ages without dimming because the source of the light is the source of life itself. John tells us that God created all the world and that the Word gave life to all of creation and brought light to all.
The power of a single light or candle may not seem like much; however, in a world of complete darkness that small glow can make all the difference. Remember a few short months ago on Christmas Eve when the lights in the church were turned out and a single candle was lit? How bright even that one candle seemed! Then another candle was lit. And another. Soon, the entire sanctuary was alight with candlelight.
So it is with our life journey. Think of a time when you felt overwhelmed or filled with despair. Perhaps it was a physical challenge or financial struggles in this difficult economy. Maybe you have been through a difficult relationship change in recent months, or a loved one has faced life and death issues. Are you feeling cloaked in darkness as you read this? We all go through dark days in our spiritual life. Lent itself is often considered a time of darkness.
We are not alone. There are others who allow the Light of the Word to shine into our darkness. We can all become vessels for the Light if we allow ourselves to prepare for the coming Resurrection by using the darkness to still our inner struggles and quiet our voices so that we may open ourselves to hear the Word and see the Light for ourselves.
Gracious God, help us still our inner struggles and quiet our voices so that we may open ourselves to hear the Word and see the Light for ourselves. Amen.