This Sunday, the fifth Sunday of Lent, we’ll continue our “Saving Grace” Lenten Sermon series with “Salvation is Light in the Darkness.”
The images of darkness and light, blindness and vision, figure prominently throughout scripture. Darkness can be ignorance. It can be blindness to what’s going on around us. (Jesus says in Mark 8:17-18, “Are your hearts so resistant to what God is doing? Don’t you have eyes? Why can’t you see?”) It can mean being in the dark about who we really are and what our needs are (The book of Revelation addresses the lukewarm Christians of Laodicea, “you say, ‘I’m rich, and I’ve grown wealthy, and I don’t need a thing.’ You don’t realize that you are miserable, pathetic, poor, blind, and naked. My advice is that you buy gold from me that has been purified by fire so that you may be rich, and white clothing to wear so that your nakedness won’t be shamefully exposed, and ointment to put on your eyes so that you may see.”) Darkness can mean threat, fear, uncertainty, hopelessness: it is, to use Isaiah’s words, walking in darkness.
Light is the opposite of what the darkness represents. The imagery of going from darkness to light is about transformation. Darkness is scary and threatening and uncertain, but the hope in God is captured in Isaiah’s words: “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.” Salvation in this context, then, is light overcoming darkness, truth overcoming ignorance, goodness overcoming evil, caring overcoming apathy, and vision overcoming the failure to see.
John’s Gospel says that Jesus Christ is the Word made flesh and that everything came into being through the Word. The gospel writer says, “What came into being through the Word was life, and the life was the light for all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness doesn’t extinguish the light.” A few chapters later, Jesus says, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me won’t walk in darkness but will have the light of life.”
In our worship, we’ll center our thoughts on these inspiring words from the gospel of John then listen to Choral Union sing a beautiful setting of these verses.
I look forward to seeing you on Sunday as we explore all the ways in which the light of Christ can overcome the darkness in our own lives and what it means for how we live.
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Tim Bruster,