Christ is risen!
OK, a cheesy movie quote may not be the best way to start a devotional, but it’s the first thing that popped in my mind when I started working on this subject this morning.
Besides, we’ve heard so much about “light” and “darkness” and stories of people having near-death experiences and seeing a “light” at the end of a tunnel and being drawn to that “light.” One of the most popular movies in America right now is “Heaven is for Real.” It’s a story about a young boy who has such an experience and comes back to talk about it.
And not to mention the common fear of children of the dark, the popularity of “night lights” (we even have a night light that has a “stained glass” version of an icon of the Theotokos in our daughter’s room). We humans like to see where we are going! We are not big fans of being “in the dark!”
And that really isn’t a complicated notion at all, is it? No one likes to hit their shin on the corner of the coffee table in the middle of the night.
Well, if that’s true of my physical life, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that this is even more true in my spiritual life. All of this is together! Stumbling in a confused spiritual darkness has even more serious complications and consequences that even the dangers of physical darkness.
In our Scripture Lesson today, the Apostle John (whose memory we honor today) writes about this very truth. In I John 1:1-7, the “beloved Disciple” (he’s called that because he was the one who rested hi head against the Lord at the Last Supper) writes to the churches under his care that he is teaching them the message and wisdom of Christ from hat he saw and witnessed for himself. This isn’t second-hand information, but the testimony of an eye-witness of the Lord’s work, His ministry, and His message. That’s credibility.
And he sets up his letter this way in the very beginning because he is about to say something that doesn’t really allow for a lot of wiggle room or misunderstanding.
The Apostle writes:
“God is light and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not live according to the truth; but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” (I John 1:5-7)
God IS light and there IS NO darkness in Him. So, where you find spiritual darkness, you find persons who are either unaware of the Light God offers or have purposefully chosen to ignore the “light.” In fat, if you say you are “in fellowship” (the Greek word is ‘koinonia’ pronounced ‘keenoNEEa’) and act like you are not informed by His light then you are not being truthful. By the way, you’re not being untruthful to God; He knows you better than you know yourself. And, you’re not usually being untruthful to those who are around you; we can tell you’re not being honest. No, the person you’re being untruthful to is yourself, and that’s the biggest problem we humans have!
The Apostle goes on to say that being in God’s light leads to “koinonia,” communion, fellowship with “one another” and here his meaning is two-fold. We have “koinonia” with God and we have “koinonia” with our brothers and sisters who also have “koinonia” with God. The Light allows true and honest communion both horizontally and vertically! The Light of God creates, allows, informs, educates, and strengthens honest, growing, and healthy relationships.
The “darkness” does just the opposite.
So, today, are you in “the Light?” It isn’t just a “lucky thing” that the highest season of our Christian Year, the season of Pascha, begins with the words “Come, receive the Light from the Light that is never overtaken by night, and glorify Christ Who is risen from the dead.” Being in the light of the victory of Christ over the ultimate darkness of death is the absolutely only way to have a real, growing, and healthy relationship with God and with those around me. The darkness, and it’s a defeated darkness at that, can only separate, make us more self-centered, and more unhealthy in our relationships. And the greatest tragedy of all that is that this result can only occur if I allow it. The Light always drives the darkness away. All I have to do is turn toward Him Who IS Light Himself! Do that today and watch as all your relationships start reflecting your growing relationship with God!