There was a power outage last night. So, I grabbed candles and matches and our little flashlight. And because it was dark, I was thinking about the dark. Spiritual darkness.
In the dark, we grope around to get our bearings. We may bump into this, that, and the other. Sometimes it scares us because of all that is hidden or because we have a sense that evil lurks around the corner or could lurk in places it most often doesn’t during the day. The New Testament contrasts the deeds of darkness–what is done at nightfall –with the day. Most wait for the cover of darkness, for secret, to act destructively, foolishly, and sinfully. When they think they’re alone or unseen, the dark side comes out.
We know that our eyes can adjust to the dark. Not that we see clearly, but we can sometimes make our way around so long as it isn’t pitch black. We get accustomed to the darkness. We become nocturnal. Yes, some of us even fall in love with the darkness. So much so, that when bright light shines in our eyes, we shun it. We turn away. The light hurts our eyes. It’s overpowering.
But even a little light, a little flash light like ours, can expose the darkness. It can shed light on what is hidden. It helps us get around. Even a little light in the great darkness shines brightly.
So with this little metaphor we are reminded that as we shine forth, as we glow like Moses after he came down from Mt. Sinai, after having spent forty days and nights with God–Bible speak for a long time, we shed light in this dark world. Not only among those in the darkness but among children of light. If you remember, Moses even shone forth brightly during the day (well I think that’s the case). In fact, he shone so brightly that he covered his face; people couldn’t bear to look at him.
If Jesus’ light shines forth through us, we are a point of reference. We help others see. Even we see because Jesus is shining forth through us. We expose the deeds of darkness as we emit light.
And of course we remember Psalm 119:105 where the Psalmnist proclaims that God’s word is a lamp for our feet and light for our paths. Why? So we can see where we are going and so we won’t stumble in the dark. So we won’t stumble in life. So we can walk confidently.
I will probably ponder this metaphor a little longer.