Becoming Instruments of Light in the Darkness
“The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death Light has dawned.” (Mt 4:15-16) On the Sunday after the baptism of Christ, this is how we hear St Matthew the Evangelist begin the story of Jesus’ public ministry. A Great Light has shined forth and given hope to people living in darkness!
Light versus darkness. Hope versus despair. Goodness versus evil. Love versus hatred. Life versus death.
This stark comparison highlights the Good News that Jesus brings into the world. Here lies the center of the Christian Gospel. No matter how dark and depressing the world may seem, Christ offers an opportunity to view life from a different perspective. This fallen world won’t change until the second coming of Christ ushers in the fullness of God’s Kingdom, so we can always expect darkness and evil in the world. Jesus, however, offers His followers a different way to engage the world, a new way to encounter the darkness in the world!
Keep our eyes on Christ and be filled with light. We will never despair! Invite His Holy Spirit to live in us and plant His seeds of joy in our lives! We live with hope! Live under the reign of God and become instruments in sharing His light into the darkness. We remain optimistic. Remember how St. John the Evangelist began his gospel account, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.” (John 1:5)
Shining divine light in this world! Here is also our call in life.
What is essential for all of us to understand is that just as Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Anyone who follows Me shall not walk in darkness but shall walk in the light of life.” (John 8:12) He also told each one of us, “YOU are the light of the world… LET YOUR LIGHT so shine before others that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Mt 5:14,16)
Jesus Christ has brought light into the world, has brought light into OUR lives and changed us, SO THAT we share His light, shine His light in the world all around us! There is darkness all around us, in our everyday lives. How are WE SHINING LIGHT in that darkness? How are we shining brightly the light of Christ onto others?
I heard a beautiful analogy of a father who had just bought his son a powerful flashlight for his son’s upcoming camping trip. As they walked out of the store into the daylight, the young boy wanted to try out his new flashlight and see how it worked? Being outside in the daylight, though, he couldn’t see its light. He complained to his father that the flashlight didn’t work and that they should return it. The father, however, explained to his son that a flashlight wasn’t made to shine light in the daylight, but was made to shine light at night, when darkness is all around. Take the flashlight into dark places, the father said, and you will see its light shine.
Isn’t that what we are all called to do? Think of where you see darkness in our world? It’s easy to look on the internet and see such awful stories of darkness in society, in politics, in the world around us. But where do we see darkness in our daily lives? Among the people we interact with every day? The darkness of loneliness? The darkness of addiction? The darkness of depression? The darkness of despair? The darkness of illness? The darkness which comes from a broken life? The darkness of life’s daily grind and struggle?
Let’s pause for a moment and think about someone we know in our lives, someone with whom we have contact with regularly who is struggling with some issue. How can we bring light into their darkness, and allow Christ’s light of hope to shine from us to them?
Our light is needed precisely where there is darkness. Never despair about the darkness we see all around us. Instead, try to shine the light, be the light in the darkness and despair we see in anyone’s life. We need to turn on our flashlight of faith and let it shine brightly in that darkness! Become instruments of light, shining Christ’s light in the world.
I remember visiting someone who had lost their husband after taking care of him for many years. When I saw her, and asked how she was, she despairingly cried out, “I’m a dead woman. I’m alive, but living as if I’m dead. My husband is gone. I have no family. No one comes to see me. I can’t get out of my house. All day long I just sit here by myself. No one calls. No one comes to see me. I’m just waiting to die.” My heart felt the darkness that surrounded this woman. She was lonely. She was sad. She didn’t see hope for the future. She was waiting to die.
So, I tried to turn on God’s flashlight and allow His light to shine in her darkness. I realize, though, that I have to go back, visit her again, call her up from time to time, and become an ongoing light in her life. And of course, it can’t just be me. That is what each of us is called to do! How can each of us become instruments in God’s hands, shining His light onto others in our daily lives?
In the 60 homes that I blessed this past week, I can honestly say that 75% of them are dealing with various issues of old age, of illness, of loneliness, and other various challenges. And this in within our own church family! What are we going to do about that?
I want each of us to think about the people who cross our paths each and every day. Think hard about every person and ask yourself where the light of Christ needs to shine forth. How can YOU and I bring Christ’s light – with a visit, through a phone call, simply by sitting with someone and listening to their struggles, empathizing with them and comforting them with our presence?
Don’t get used to the darkness all around us and don’t accept it as the norm of life. Instead, begin shining forth the light of Christ!
There’s a beautiful children’s song we sing from time to time in our Sunday School
“This little Christian light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. (x3) Let is shine all the time let it shine.”
May our light shine, or more precisely, may the light of Christ shine through us each and every day, especially in the dark places of the world. Wherever you see darkness, don’t complain and don’t be scared, instead, let Christ’s light shine brightly from our lives!
“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness cannot overcome it.” (John 1:5)
IN WHOM DO WE TRUST?
Our Orthodox Faith