“It shall be one day which is known to the Lord – neither day nor night, but at evening time it shall happen that it will be light.” Zechariah 14:7
“This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him there is no darkness at all.” 1 John 1:5
On a hiking trip to the Moab Utah area, one evening we ventured out to one of the area’s designated “dark sky places”, where the sky is exceptionally black, free of artificial light.* Beneath that black sky we could see each other’s faces, lit only by starlight. Stargazers seek out darkness … to celebrate light. But unless we are scientists, photographers … or simply tired, we long for light. A few cloudy days can put us in a funk, a little cranky maybe. We immediately feel uplifted seeing sunshine again. Some suffer serious depression with shorter daylight hours in winter.
Darkness implies more than seeing. There are dark attitudes – sarcastic and unkind; mistrusting, disliking people unlike ourselves. We experience dark times of worry and anxiety – illness without hope of recovery; unpaid bills and empty cupboards. We say people are “in the dark” – lacking vision, refusing to see what is happening around them, poorly informed. Dark humor, dark movies, the “Dark Ages” …. While new ideas and understanding are depicted by a lightbulb.
See the light … be a light. Jesus wondered why someone would light a lantern only to hide it under a basket. Who would do such a thing? The truth is we all do when we are rude and unwelcoming, unwilling to share of our abundance, indifferent to the needs of others, the condition of our planet. God is light and our lamps should be set out on a lampstand so others can see, and glorify God in heaven. When it looks dark out there, we can still be as stars shining God’s light upon others. And when it is dark “in here”, Jesus is still our star, making his face to shine upon us.
Jesus, light of the world, light a lamp in our hearts today that shines for your glory. Then at the end of the day, when darkness comes, may we lie down in peace, secure in your love and grace. Amen
Verla Olson (If you have time, read through Bernadette Farrell’s beautiful hymn “Christ, Be Our Light”.)
*Minnesota’s Boundary Waters were designated a Dark Sky Sanctuary in 2020.