Anybody gotta a flashlight?
For city-dwellers, having an occasion to drive along a road through densely wooded country at night can be surprisingly dark. It’s then you take notice of the absence of streetlights and house lights. If it’s a cloudy night, the dark is darker still. If it’s raining and windy, it’s eerily dark. But that’s not yet quite ‘total black’ darkness. Out of His abundant generosity, God provided the moon along with gazillions of stars to provide us with gentle, soft light for the night (I’m sure the owl that occasionally hoots from a tree in our backyard is grateful for His nocturnal gifts).
While working at a school in France, for a field trip, we took a group of our students to Switzerland where overnight accommodations were in a school basement – more specifically, a bomb shelter (a requirement throughout the country). Upon arrival in the afternoon, everything looked normal. However, descending the steps to underground level revealed a different story. A huge, thick set of doors had to be opened, revealing a series of shower spigots lining both sides of the hallway (decontamination showers). Past those, to another set of equally thick doors, opened into an open area, off which was a kitchen, a lounge area, then a series of bedrooms and bathrooms. Everything was spotlessly clean (Swiss standard). The only things missing were windows. We settled in, choosing beds, etc. then went out again to visit the city. In the evening, we returned to our ’hotel’ for the night. When the lights were eventually turned out – sudden and total blackness! No hint of shadow, no discernible movement, no adjusting of eyes helped. There were no nightlights. It was an otherworldly experience (one not recommended for claustrophobics).
In his Gospel, Matthew writes of a condition not unlike what we experienced in Switzerland: “The eye is the lamp of the body. You draw light into your body through your eyes, and light shines out to the world through your eyes. So if your eye is well and shows you what is true, then your whole body will be filled with light. But if your eye is clouded or evil, then your body will be filled with evil and dark clouds. And the darkness that takes over the body of a child of God who has gone astray – that is the deepest darkest darkness there is.” Matt. 6:22,23, VOICE.
God is Light. Jesus proclaimed himself as the Light of the World. He told his disciples they were the Light of the World, too. It follows that disciples today are the Light of the world, letting the light shine out to the world through their (our) eyes as Matthew says. Stunning honor! Stupefying responsibility! Here’s another thrilling declaration, this one from Jesus himself: “I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.” Matt. 28: 20, MESSAGE. You know? I think we can do this, y’all. More tomorrow, 10 AM, 4 PM. PD