Summary: Jesus calls us to bring light into the darkness
When we proclaim our profession of faith, we say:
‘We believe on One God. . . God from God, Light from Light’. . .
I imagine that all of us have been afraid of the dark at some time in our lives. . .
afraid of the monster under the bed, . . .
the creature in the closet, . . .
the shadows on the wall, . . .
the distance of darkness between us and the nearest room with light.
These dangers may have been imaginary, but everyone has had periods in their life as children and adults when darkness has stricken us to our very core with fear – shaking, our hearts thumping with fear!
I have a confession to make. I do still get a little anxious when I’m walking in a dark or unfamiliar place by myself; maybe it’s not being able to see; or maybe it’s not knowing who’s there or what to expect. Or maybe it’s that being alone in the dark feels so just really alone. On the other hand, I find it amazing that light, any light, quickly dispels the anxiety darkness provokes. Just to see a light, is so comforting, even if it’s some distance away. In some way, it’s like a visible reassurance that there is somebody there, somewhere. And, of course, the closer you get to the light, the less you feel that anxious fear.
As we grow up, we learn that all of these dark fears are baseless, just childhood imaginations.
But as we grow up, we find that darkness takes other forms - mostly fear – a sort of psychological darkness or
fear of being lost,. . .
fear of failure, . . .
fear of personal unworthiness, . . .
fear of concern for our ability to care for our families, . . .
fear that we will not make correct choices, . . .
fear of illness, . . .
fear of loss of loved ones, . . .
fear about what is happening in our nation and the world.
Last week has been full of significant events: we honored Martin Luther King, Jr. for the stand he took to bring for equality to all. Indeed, he gave his life to bring light to the darkness of racial discrimination.
Our nation, bitterly divided about our recent election and its consequences, just saw the inauguration of the next President of the United States. There is fear that this inauguration will have consequences so far-reaching that history will record difficult and disastrous changes to the United States and the world. We also see that much of the world is fearful too!
So amidst all this fear – this dark unknowing and black negativity –
where is the light?
How can we find that light?
How can we be that light?
If the new administration begins to mark people as “other” (based on their creed, color, gender, sexual orientation, income, age and health status) and targets them for deportation and various forms of discrimination, we need to step in to protect them from the looming darkness. As people of faith, we know no “other”; we are one, and when one of us suffers, we all suffer. We are all children of God.
During the Civil War, Union generals told President Abraham Lincoln that the Union would win because
‘God was on their side’.
But Abraham Lincoln wisely asked:
‘But are WE on God’s side?”
When people believe they are entitled to hate - when they see their leaders model vengeance and retaliation as acceptable, it’s time to remember that God DEMANDS that we love all people—especially those that have been marginalized and rejected.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote,
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. It is my deep conviction that justice is indivisible”.
So, it is our job, as citizens of the United States, and especially as Christians, to bring light to the darkness of fear and separation that could permeate our world. We are called to be disciples of Jesus; to bring relief to the suffering, acceptance and wholeness to those who are maligned, and security to those who are lost.
To be a disciple means to commit ourselves to a ministry for the least and the lost. We don't get to choose who is worthy of Jesus' attention, of receiving the Messiah's light in their darkness. We are just to reflect it to everyone we meet. We are simply to remind everyone that they are called to be children of God. And if we are open to being God’s children, we will find all kinds of things to do in response to God’s call. Maybe the “doing” will come through our work, or volunteering, or being a good neighbor or starting a community involvement group. We need to remember that our living into our call will come through forging relationships with others. No matter how God may use all of us – it’s important to remember that before God calls us to do anything God first calls us to be His beloved children. And knowing this, we can trust that the opportunities for witness and action will follow.