Have you ever experienced complete darkness? With not one fragment of light in the room? No line of light under the door, or a few stars in the sky? I mean absolute, utter darkness. A complete blindness that is felt deep in the soul?
If you have gone on a cave tour, it’s usually one of the gimmicks the guides do. But even so, phones and other electronics we carry with us give off some light. What I have found from a few experiments is that darkness can be completely defeated with the smallest of light. In fact, once our eyes adjust, a votive candle can light up a whole room. Sure, there are shadows, but we can see. We are no longer blind.
“Those who sat in darkness have seen a great light,” Isaiah prophesized about the coming Messiah in one of this Sunday’s readings. Isaiah indicates that the Israelites, for all of their law-keeping, their prayers and rituals, sat in darkness. A darkness that blinded them and that they could feel. And suddenly, a great light came. And with this light from Jesus, complete darkness was gone and there were no shadows. In a way, you could say, the Israelites were completely exposed.
We pray and sing about the image of the light of Christ, but do we consider how it exposes us? Reveals who we are and who we aren’t? For all of our law-keeping, our prayers and our rituals, I ask you—what darkness do you prefer to keep? What shadows do you like hiding in?
Faith, Luther said, is a living, busy, active, mighty thing! It calls us to seek not only the light for vision, but to have the light fill our hearts, minds and bodies. It calls us to not only acknowledge Christ’s light but to accept it. Fully. Without reservation.
It calls us to leave the darkness of this world behind and live in the light as God’s beloved people.
My prayer for you all is to find comfort knowing that Christ came for you, for your dark spaces and your deepest concerns. May the light of Christ provide warmth and fill you with assurance of his love and grace. May God help you let go and leave whatever shadows you have long behind you….