Light In The Darkness
January 20, 2015
“All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” -John 1:3-5
I have lived most of my life in the prairies. As you drive on cloudy nights in the prairies, one can see where the towns are. The lights of the towns reflect off the clouds above. Thus, even is the town below is not yet visible, the bright clouds above show the town.
Jesus reminds his disciples that they are to be like a city on the hill or a lamp on a stand. Light is a symbol of God. Israel lit lamps to show God’s presence. Jesus is, according to the Gospel of John, the light coming into the world. Jesus wants his disciples to be light, to show the presence of God to humanity.
The question for us how to be light, how to show the presence of God to humanity. It happens as we feed the hungry, clothe the naked, give water to the thirsty, and are present with the sick and oppressed. But we need to find ways to change the world. God invited Israel, and invites us, to let justice flow.
That is the key. How do we help people to move out of their current situation and into a new situation. That is not easy. It requires walking with people through the darkness in their lives and helping them to discover the light, and embrace the light. It means walking with people who have no means or opportunity to find hope and possibility.
So many of our efforts go into treating the symptoms and not the problem. We see hunger, homelessness, and imprisonment as the problems, but they are only symptoms of the problems in our world. We need to help people find ways to move out of their situations of addiction, unemployment, lack of opportunity, and lack of education. We need to discover ways to strengthen families, provide childcare, and walk with people so they can be successful in caring for themselves and their families.
That is done by committing to be with people over time, and in spite of failures. It means we have to commit to being present with people as they figure out life. It will not happen because of what we give, it will happen because of our commitment to being present, and being God’s presence, to individuals who are currently in darkness. We must enter the darkness and be that light. We need to be the light to the world.
Prayer: Holy God, who came into the world to be the light of the world, help us reflect your light, like the clouds above a city, into the place where you have put us. Give us wisdom and power to make lasting changes in the lives of those to whom we minister. We ask in the name of the One whose life was the light of humanity. Amen.
Reverend Scott Engelhart
First Baptist Church of Lander, WY &
Wind River Indian Baptist Church of Fort Washakie, WY