Sunday, July 20, 2014

Darkness & Light

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.  Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.  In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.  -John 1:1-5

It's been an extremely dark week in our world. Planes shot down and hundreds killed. Escalating violence in the Middle East. Escalating tensions on our border, and so much hatred being spewed from our fellow citizens about our leaders. It was very hard to find any light.  But the Light was there-  the same Light that is always present in the darkness. The above scripture reminds us that the light is always shining, no matter how dark it seems, because light is so much more powerful than darkness. A single candle lights the darkest night, and the darkness has no chance. No matter the situation, Jesus will still be there.

"I know there are people in this world who do not love their fellow human beings- and I HATE people like that!"             -Tom Lerher

I have never understood violence and hatred; I long known the value of love and forgiveness. I do know that there is nothing to be gained by returning violence for violence or hatred for hatred.  As Gandhi once famously said, "An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind." And yet, I heard so much anger from so many places this week, including the church.  We cannot hope to stop the madness if we respond with the same kind of misguided, vengeful attitudes that have created such horrible situations. I knew far too many Quakers as I was growing up who preached non-violence and pacifism yet seemed ready to punch out anyone who disagreed with them. I don't know everything, but I do know this- you cannot truly follow Jesus and hold hatred in your heart for anyone. You should be angry and frustrated, but Jesus calls us to forgive everyone- especially those it is hardest to forgive. I know well that there are consequences for sin, and those who are responsible for violence and atrocity must pay that price. Grace is free; it is not cheap. But followers of the Christ do not get to choose the people to whom we offer mercy and grace. It has to be everyone- just as it is given to us though we do not deserve it.

"I wanna be in the light as You are in the light; I wanna shine like the stars in the heaven.  O LORD be my light, and be my salvation 'cause all I want is to be in the light..."  - Charlie Peacock

There is no denying that this world is a dark place. There is much rhetoric that creates an atmosphere of distrust and fear among us. Every story we read seems to focus on our differences. Events like those of this week bring fear, anger and a loss of hope to our lives.  But for those of us who who understand what the Jesus Revolution is all about, we know that the Light of Christ cannot be extinguished. We know that when we trust Jesus, we are in the light. And we believe- no, we KNOW- that the darkness has no chance. I have read the book. I know how it ends.  GOD WINS!!! So as you mourn for the terrible losses families are feeling in this time or unrest and aggression, as you feel anger over this senseless violence, do not give in to "the dark side." Do not give in to hatred. Pray instead the words above, and be part of the flame that will remind the world that "the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it."

Because of Jesus,

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