I hope this day finds you and your family well. I invite you to take a few moments with me to read and reflect upon today’s scripture selection — and to carry these thoughts with you into your day.
Today’s Scripture: John 8:12-14
12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” 13 Then the Pharisees said to him, “You are testifying on your own behalf; your testimony is not valid.” 14 Jesus answered, “Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid because I know where I have come from and where I am going, but you do not know where I come from or where I am going.
Tim’s Devotional Reflection for Today
My mother didn’t have electricity until sometime after my parents married — neither in the home she grew up in nor the first house my parents had. Once she had electricity, for the rest of her life she always had a night light in her room.
She said it was because as a child she remembers on a moonless, cloudy night it was so dark she couldn’t see her hand in front of her face. She was afraid she had gone blind!
It’s hard for us to appreciate complete darkness now in our time and place, but in antiquity, darkness had a particularly powerful meaning. The imagery of light overcoming darkness for people who lived in a pre-electricity era was much more powerful.
Darkness was palpable. It was threatening — especially walking in darkness, not knowing what’s ahead or even what the next step would bring.
Are you afraid of the darkness?
If you are an adult, you may be saying, “Well, of course not; don’t be ridiculous! Afraid of the darkness? When I was a kid, yeah. But, now?”
This morning I want you to think for just a moment about your answer to this question: What are you most afraid of?
If you are afraid of any of those things, then you are afraid of darkness, because they are darkness.
Look through the pages of scripture and you will find that darkness is consistently the symbol for that which is most feared in our lives: Death, Hopelessness, Chaos, Violence, Meaninglessness, Ignorance, Evil, Judgment, Falsehood, Depression, Failure, etc.
With a very few exceptions, everyone is afraid of darkness. Darkness as a metaphor is found way beyond the Bible, of course, in texts ancient and contemporary and in common speech in every culture.
Polish-English novelist Joseph Conrad wrote a novella, Heart of Darkness in 1899 about power and human evil set in the remote jungles of 19th century colonial Africa. Winston Churchill spoke of his nation’s “darkest hour.” Many people speak of enduring a “dark time” in their lives.
Darkness. It is a fearsome thing — and the fear of it seems to be universal.
In this context, the opening of the gospel of John is a powerful expression of the good news of our faith: the coming of light to our darkness, the coming of Jesus: “In him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:4-5)
Hear this good news in our scripture for today: there is light in the darkness — and the darkness does not overcome it. Jesus is the Light of the World and whoever follows Jesus will have the light of life that will overcome any darkness.
“I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light”
I want to walk as a child of the light;
I want to follow Jesus.
God set the stars to give light to the world;
The star of my life is Jesus.
In him there is no darkness at all;
The night and the day are both alike.
The Lamb is the light of the city of God;
Shine in my heart, Lord Jesus.
I want to see the brightness of God;
I want to look at Jesus.
Clear Sun of righteousness, shine on my path,
And show me the way to the Father.
I’m looking for the coming of Christ;
I want to be with Jesus.
When we have run with patience the race,
We shall know the joy of Jesus.
Thank you for sharing this moment of your day with me, with God, and with these reflections on a portion of scripture. I hope you will carry these with you throughout your day and night.
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Tim Bruster