Somewhere I learned that I needed to be a light in this world. To be an encouragement, one who brings brightness, one who envisions hope. I must be one who brings light to the classroom and my office building. My college apartment, then my red brick row house. To all my meetings and small groups and family dinners and one-on-ones. Because you believe, my theology said, you must be the light for those who don't. Always.
But there must be a time for darkness. Because only the lights of night clubs and diners and Wal-Marts stay always one. The most wonderful light in the world goes down at the end of the day. And even the Son, the Light of the world, went dark at the crucifixion. There was darkness over the whole land... the sun's light failed (Mark 15).
In my striving to be a light in the world, I forgot who was the real Light of the world, the original flame of a candlelit service.
Scripture often references light. In the beginning, God said, Let there be light. The Psalmist prayed to walk before God in the light of life. He called the Word a lamp to his feet and light to his path. John wrote that the true light has shined in Christ and the darkness has not overcome it. And he concludes in Revelation that in eternity, the night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light (Revelation 22:5).
But not once in all the Bible did I find a command of me to be a light. Not once.
All I could find was this: Matthew 5:5, the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus said, You are the light of the world.
Light is not something I must be or become. No, Jesus said. Light, you already are. Light, I already am. Not because of anything I did. Because of how He made me.
There will still be darkness. Jesus knew darkness, too. The Light of the world has shined. And made in His image, we reflect His light. And the darkness has not overcome it. Amen.
Picture: Light from our basement shining through the floorboards.