Darkness And Light

No. 5 - 11th September 2016


Last Saturday, I was standing in the rain at the bottom of the High Street, along with everyone else crowding onto the pavement. There was a little boy beside me who was all excited about the Carnival. He kept saying, “When is the parade coming?” and his mother would say. “In a minute.” Then five minutes later – “When’s it coming?” “In a minute. Just be patient” Well this little exchange went on for three quarters of an hour while we all waited for the parade to begin – in a minute. Finally, as darkness closed in around us, we saw lights bobbing around at the top of the High Street. And then, streaming down the road came hundreds of burning torches that enveloped us all in a soft glow of light. That wide eyed little boy could hardly contain himself. The town was suddenly full of pirates and red Indians, of all the characters from Star Wars, and lots of other people in the most fantastic fancy dresses. And they were all carrying flaming torches in their hands. It was such a classic picture of light breaking through the darkness to bring joy and humour and excitement.

Jesus used that imagery of light and darkness quite a lot. By darkness, he was referring to that condition that I find myself in, when all the rubbish in my life makes me want to run away from God as far as I can. That feeling of guilt and shame that stops me from even trying to communicate with him.

Light, on the other hand, stood for an awareness of God, and the ability to communicate freely with him in spite of the darkness that I find inside and around me.

Light was a good thing. It brought a sense of wellbeing and freedom from that crushing sense of guilt. Jesus said he was uniquely qualified to shine that light into our lives, which allows us to break through the darkness and reach out to touch the very face of God. “I am the light of the world” Jesus said. “Whoever follows me will no longer live in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

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