Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Darkness and Light


I was recently enlightened to write again by a memoir I read.  MeropeSomething about darkness in a scene the author described lit a spark.  I realized that light and darkness (especially in our dark days of winter) are significant to everything we do and everything I write.  If nothing is hidden, there is nothing to be discovered; If everything is disclosed mystery vanishes.

I have an almost excessively bright reading light I inherited from my mother.  I think she purchased it because the stand looked cool.  She had a real eye for design.  She never used it for reading or any other task lighting so the original bulb is still in it.  And that bulb is a little scary.  CAUTION! it warns.  .  . RISK OF EXPOSURE TO ULTRAVIOLET RADIATION.  I dread having to replace that bulb or leaving it alone with children.  Nevertheless, it shows me every jot and every tittle on every page, the fingerprints on my Kindle, and the dust and cat hair everywhere.

But, what if we lived in a land of darkness where Jesus provided the light.  And what if that light was both risky and revealing.  And what if that light was both partial and full.  What if it was a light full of paradox and promise?

The memoir I read earlier this year prompted me to remember what happens when the light comes on.  All of a sudden our attention is redirected from the indistinct shapes of gloom to a point of clarity. 

And now that we’ve seen the light and know where to look, what about the darkness?  Why only a point of light?  Why not a light that casts it beam everywhere on everything.  Why not display the evil in the world so that it can be destroyed.  Why not burn through the walls of drug houses, sex houses, murder houses, theft houses so everyone can see the evil?  Why not expose everything?

Exposing evil generally leads to a better outcome.  That’s what the Fourth Estate--the news organizations—are supposed to do in our day.   The missing women in Chillicothe, OH have been highlighted, but we don’t know what happened before they disappeared or died.  Why do we see in part but not in whole?

What would it take to wipe out the evil around us? God promises to do that in the end, but what about today?  What about slavery and the evil people who enslave others on drugs?

And now a digression.  I recently read an article (really a commentary on a book) in Psychology Today that posits that fewer children are diagnosed with and taking drugs for ADHD in France than in the USA.  The theory is that French people raise their children in families with a frame and structure that makes the kids feel secure.  They know that have 4 definite meal times and they are not allowed food in between.  They know that the have set hours and duties.   Christians have that also:  we have the frame and structure of God’s way of living.  Other frames and structures are sweet but inadequate.

My hope is built on nothing less

Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;

I dare not trust the sweetest frame,

But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

--The Solid Rock 

So, we need the light, but the darkness is comfort and protection, mystery and paradox.  My prayer for the year is that all would turn toward the light that is Jesus and that evil deeds done in darkness would be exposed, everything lost would be found, and that all might be able to live freely in Jesus’ frame.


Star picture "Merope" by Henryk Kowalewski - Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons -