Epiphany 3 :: Navigating the Darkness

Matthew 4.12-23


Light in the darkness

During my last visit to our family home, in 2011, I decided to keep some lights on in the den when I went to bed for the night. Now, sleeping with the lights on may seem like something only children do, but let me tell you, having the lights on is a great way to keep from stubbing your toes if you get up in the night! Especially this is so when the surroundings are unfamiliar.

Things at our home had become unfamiliar to me. In preparation for selling the house, furniture had been moved out or rearranged and boxes of mementos and items scheduled for delivery to the local thrift store were everywhere. Things weren’t cluttered, but the normal pathways around the house — long familiar to me from my years of living there — were changed. The last thing I wanted to have happen — should nature call in the middle of the night — was to bump my toe on a storage trunk or re-positioned chair in the dark. Bad things can happen when you can’t see. So the lights stayed on.

The people of Israel knew about the darkness all too well. So, whilst sojourning in the wilderness, God led them with a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. No stumbling. No broken toes. God faithfully led the people to the land which had been promised them.

Over time, though, the people quit following where God was leading. Instead they relied on their kings and armies for strength and protection. They forgot the promises of God. They fell away from worshiping God and turned their praises and prayers to idols. For them light of God grew dim, as the people, refusing to be led by that light, chose other, false lights, in the place of God. So the darkness overwhelmed them. When you can’t see the light, much more than a stubbed toe can befall you.

A new light has come into our lives. A light for all the people. A light for the nations. But we must open our eyes to perceive the light. We cannot go on as if nothing has changed, as if we haven’t been changed. We turn to the light of Christ, expecting it to illuminate our way through the darkness of our lives. No stumbling. No broken toes. Just a clear path ahead.

Something to ponder: In the place of darkness, what has the Light of Christ revealed to you?

Link to RCL lectionary for the Third Sunday after the Epiphany, Year A.

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