Reformation Lutheran Church A Congregation of the ELCA

Wednesday, March 9 Read 1 John 1

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. If we say that we have fellowship with him while we are walking in darkness, we lie and do not do what is true; but if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 1 John 1:5-7

Reflecting the Light

Throughout history, many have lied and claimed to have fellowship with God, while in fact they were walking in darkness. Wretched realities such as the Spanish Inquisition and the Holocaust make this fact abundantly clear. But I wonder how many of those who contributed to the evil or who just watched in overwhelmed weakness realized the extent to which they walked in darkness. Surely, we say, we would do better. We identify the guilty groups we are not a part of, the groups we write off for their failure. These things, we say, could not happen now, not to us.

The problem with darkness is that it also makes us blind, so I will boldly ask to what extent we walk in darkness. I am not suggesting we take on guilt for atrocities we had no part in. There is plenty of hurt and petty meanness in the comfortable society we inhabit today. What’s more, each Sunday the liturgy would have us search our hearts for sin and confess it, so if we are participating in worship, we regularly scan our consciences. But perhaps walking in the light means more. Perhaps it means putting aside time in our busy schedules to connect to the light and power of God’s love, just as we do in Lenten devotions.

We know that Gospel is radical love for all people. We believe that Jesus came to overturn a legalistic understanding of morality and replace it with salvation – the light of the world. If we do not connect with that light, if we live stressed and hurried, struggling to satisfy the demands of the world, we are forgetting to walk in the light. Yet it is this very light that gives us strength, courage and purpose to overcome the obstacles the world sets before us, or even to re-envision them as opportunities for growth and blessing.

It is always worth the effort to come back to the light. Though coming back to it takes practice and the development of habits, it is easier to walk in that light. We are less likely to stub our toes there and more likely to treat ourselves and others with dignity and respect, which is the root of true fellowship. This good will doesn’t come from intense striving and effort, but because we reflect the One in whom there is no darkness at all.

Melissa Stanton

[Yesterday |Lenten Index | Tomorrow]