SECOND BAPTIST

Lighting the Darkness

The thick fog rolls across my backyard in the hour before dawn. My neighbor’s pool lights illuminate the fog with green and purple light casting an eerie light in the fog rising behind our fence. The darkness seems especially dark today.

We are in the midst of Holy Week, a drastically different Holy Week from any I have experienced. I wonder, how many times in history has Holy Week been disrupted for the entire world? The other day we stumbled across the live stream for our friend Tony’s church in Ghana. He was preaching from what looked to be his home. Nothing is the same for anyone.

The darkness seems especially dark today.

We find ourselves collectively in a season of darkness. A season when depression, despair, and anxiety threaten to take control. A season where separation from each other casts a tangible disruption across every facet of our lives. A season when we are acutely aware of our need for a Savior.

The darkness seems especially dark today.

The words of Paul to the church at Philippi flash through my mind, “shine like stars in the world” (Phil. 2:15 NRSV). Shine? But in the verses around this one, Paul describes a crooked, perverse world filled with complaining and arguing. Surely the darkness seemed especially dark to the believers in Philippi who had watched with their own eyes as Paul was thrown in prison and run out of town by the people in their city.

But the light is coming and has already come. John opens his gospel with these words:

“In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with God. God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him. The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it” (John 1:1-5 NLT).

Jesus, the Word, God in flesh, God with us, is the light. And he illuminates the darkest darkness.

Consider a candle in an inky black room. The tiniest tealight candle sends the darkness around it fleeing. The light and dark cannot occupy the same physical space. If a tiny candle can eliminate a tiny part of darkness so completely, how much more does Jesus vanquish all of the darkness forever.

And when we choose to follow Jesus, he calls us to shine like stars no matter our circumstances, shedding the light of Jesus into the darkest of places. We are called to reflect the light of the King of Kings to a world stricken by a pandemic, to a world riddled with sin, to a world utterly broken. We are called to “shine like stars.”

During this time when we are reminded that the world is not as it should be, let us shine brightly as beacons, piercing the darkness and pointing to the source of our light, King Jesus who came and is coming and will come again.

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.”