Light and Dark

I’ve been thinking about hope a lot lately. Probably, this is a result of studying the writings of John. The Gospel of John talks about the darkness of this world and the hope that is found in Jesus Christ. Recently, our church held candlelight services on Christmas Eve. It can be a powerful experience to watch one light multiply into hundreds or thousands to fill up a dark room. The basic thought is that Christ is the first light, and Christians are the lights that follow him. Ultimately, Christ and his followers light up the dark world. I’m not sure Christians can ever really light up a dark world, though. I think it more likely we can only point out just how dark it really is without light (as though we really need to point that out). We can tell people that there is light that illuminates the dark. We can direct people to the source of that light. We can tell people that there exists a world where there is no dark and that they can have a place in that world of light. So when those candles start lighting up the dark church sanctuary, what I see is symbolic hope. We can have our darkened souls awakened to the awareness of light, and the hope of that future world where we can live in the light.

Crepuscular Rays

I took this picture at St. Peter’s Basilica in 2010. At the time, I found the sunlight streaming in through the windows quite moving. It called to mind certain verses in the gospel of John. “The man who walks in the dark does not know where he is going.”  “I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness,”  “Put your trust in the light…so that you may become sons of the light.” Emily Dickinson wrote a famous poem about light streaming down from the clouds. Unfortunately, all I remember about the poem is a college professor spending half an hour breaking down the structure of that poem and the use of crepuscular rays as meaningful imagery. In case you didn’t know, crepuscular rays just means ‘sunbeams.’ So why not just say sun beams? Sometimes, in examining the details of something, whether it be a poem or the Bible, we can lose the simple and beautiful meaning of what is being said. Today, the picture speaks more to me of hope. We live in a dark world, but God’s light penetrates the dark. God illuminates the dark. Jesus came into the world as the light of the world. There is hope and salvation through him. So when you see those crepuscular rays shining, let them be a reminder of Jesus Christ, the hope of the world.