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The Light of the World

September 20, 2022

The Light of the World

The Light of the World

By Elizabeth Head Black

The news weighs heavy on me these days. It is sometimes too much to process, too much to bear. The headlines portray a world that is overcome by darkness, from every angle, at every turn. War, rumors of war. Self-hate and personal degradation. Oppression and violence. Division, which is more self-hate. Senseless killings, heartless use and abuse of others. Greed, treachery, fear, insecurity, panic. Distrust. It gathers like a thunder cloud, not on the horizon but directly overhead. And that still, ominous darkness, that should never come at midday, looms in the atmosphere, tainting everything in a nauseating hue.  “Ohhh,” is all one can sigh. Or may it should be “Woe”.

In my sighs, I pray to the One who bore it all on his shoulders, that dark day, on the cross. I bring my heaviness to him, my incomprehension, my heart that cannot hold anymore. And in the quiet of the morning, before the sun has emerged on the horizon, He reminds me, “I am the Light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12). Of course, Lord! We need to be reminded that Light (your Light) has come into the world, and darkness has NOT overcome it (John 1:5). It cannot and has not.  What a hope! It is true. The dark forces of first century Palestine that tried to snuff out a Flame only ignited a bonfire that burns more brightly two thousand or so years later. We know this is true. Darkness has not overcome the Light of Jesus in the world. He is still alive and well.

Mystery of all mysteries (by a promise made long before our time) that Flame burns now, inside of us. He is in us and we in Him. Jesus said,

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to the whole house. In the same way, let your light shine before others so that they may see your good works and give glory to God your Father who is in heaven.”(Matthew 5:14-16)

This is such a genuinely, hopeful reality. We are the light of the world. Where darkness looms, Jesus raises up someone who radiates his light. Where lies prevail, Jesus inspires one to speak his truth. Where evil lurks, someone acts in his love and power. Where shame destroys, we administer his grace and mercy. This is happening everywhere in the world. It is happening in the Ukraine. It is happening in the dangerous neighborhoods of the inner city. It is happening in executive meetings at the highest levels, PTA meetings, hospital rooms and AA meetings. People are letting their light shine in the darkness, refusing to cower or hide from the ferocious roars of a wounded beast whose threat is only waning, rapidly. As we stand in defiance against the powers of darkness, they flee (James 4:7). The light of Jesus in us drives them away. This is our hopeful reality.

We get discouraged, thinking our flickering effort can never combat what is at hand, what we see on the news. But we must see the whole picture. It is not just one front porch light in the pitch-black night. It is all of us joined in something completely beautiful. Like the shimmering light of cities seen at night from an airplane window. Like the glow of cigarette lighters in a packed concert arena. Like prayer candles held in vigil, lighting up cathedral rafters. Like lightening that splits the night sky. Brilliant, coalesced rays of light breaking up the darkness around us. Hot, blazing sparks of fire piercing the night. We must be quite a sight from heaven. It must be stunning from above. Together we are the bonfire, and darkness cannot overcome us.

I don’t need to tell you how to be Light. Jesus will do that. But you will recognize the effects of his fire in you – a quickening of your heartrate, a tremulous flutter in your stomach, an energy and compulsion to do the outrageous thing He calls us to: speak, stand, write, give, pray, forgive, make peace, show mercy, love. It goes against the grain (of course!) but there is something wonderfully freeing and life-giving in it. I want to encourage you that He has called you. More than that, he has unhidden you. He has put you on a stand – in your arena, in your circle. This is where you shine. You have hope to give. Give the hope of Jesus. You are one of the many bright lights lit in this generation to give hope to someone else who is despairing in this dark and strange time. The world needs your light to shine today.

Be encouraged. Though the darkness is great, Jesus says we do not walk in it. It dissipates with each step forward. We walk in the light of his life. Though the darkness is great, we burn more brightly, and light the way for others. They bring their light too, and the bonfire grows. For His glory, let’s light up the sky. What a beautiful and stunning sight we will be.

Recommended Resource:

Pilgrim's Path

Follow the ancient way of the Psalms and find the life God has for you. A model for vibrant worship, the Psalms provide practical wisdom to traverse the circuitous path of life with trust and hope. Pilgrim’s Path: A Study of the Psalms traces our spiritual walk with God—from discovery and delight, through doubt and disappointment, into joyful confidence. Whether used for individual or group study, Pilgrim’s Path is for everyone who seeks to know and love God more and find life in him.

Videos and the online study can be found on our Ignite site.  

Ignite Bible Study Media

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