As night approaches, darkness descends and with the darkness comes a quietness too. Its interesting to me how quiet the dark can become. You know how it is, you hear lots of noises at night you never seem to hear in the daytime. Creaks, squeaks, muffles, shuffles, ticks, tacks, bangs and bongs all make up a myriad of noises we become acutely aware of in the night.
For centuries the night was feared and welled up in people a real dread. All manner of things could happen in the night. When darkness came, it was time to bolt yourself inside behind closed doors and shutters. In John 9:4 Jesus said, “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: when the night comes, no one can work.” Its just a given, night and dark are times for rest and to seek safety and shelter in the glow of a source of light.
As you know, I’m a walker. I get up early in the morning to walk. Here of late, I have been getting out between 6:00-6:15. Its before daybreak, its still dark outside. Its cooler to walk before the sun comes up, but there’s another attraction for me. I like to walk in the dark. Its not really all that dark outside. There is the light from street lamps, the ambient light coming from all kinds of sources, and then the light from the moon and sky. There really is plenty of light to see where I walk.
What I like about walking in the dark is the quietness all around. I am even more acutely aware of the sound of the flowing water in the stream next to the walking trail, I hear it as it tumbles over the rocks and obstacles. I can hear the cooing and calling of the birds in the trees. The other morning I heard the sirens of firetrucks and ambulances responding to some far away emergency. Behind my condo, where the creek flows, there is a den of coyotes. You don’t really see them, but when the sirens started, the coyotes began to howl and whine. It actually made me smile on my walk, as I thought of them all huddled together in their den. I can hear my own footsteps, and even my own breath. It really is quite something to take in all of those sounds.
I think I’ve recounted before how my walks give me the solitude of mind to really be in touch with my thoughts and with words from God. As I walked, it came to me about the dichotomy of light and dark. We almost always juxtapose the two against one another. I do think however, they also inform one another. Light seems all the brighter when darkness is around. The play of shadows in light can give definition and structure to paintings and drawings. What really came to mind was how we have attributed moral designations to the two; dark is bad, light is good. I’m not sure that’s all that correct. There is good in everything God created, and there is the potential for bad or evil in those same things. In the Genesis account of the beginning, we’re told “God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light. And God saw the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night.” Nowhere in that account does God call the night or darkness bad. Just two different states of being.
Even though there are only a very few people I encounter along my walks in the dark, there are a few intrepid souls. They almost always have some sort of light with them. Some come with flashlights in hand, others have lights affixed to their waist, or on the dog they may be walking. One rollerblader has lights on the front of her skates, as well as a really colorful and bright light display on the wheels. I, on the other hand, have no visible light on my person. Without an artificial source of visible light, does that mean I have no light? Or is the light in me, rather than on me?
I like to think of myself as an honest and truthful person. I endeavor to speak truth, and embody truth in how I conduct myself. I’m not sure I’m always successful at such. But the idea of being a light bearer came to mind as I walked in the dark. True enough, my fellow walkers had light they were bearing, but it was artificial, and it only gave light to the path in their immediate vicinity. If each of us however, were light bearers as in knowing and embodying truth, what light would we bring into the world?
In John 8:32 we hear Jesus saying, “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” You and I know the truth of God. We know that God is love, and God’s love is for everyone. Not just for those like us. Not just for those we agree with. Not just for those who are in the same political party as us. Not just for those between our borders. God loves everyone. That is the TRUTH. God loves the immigrant, the widow, the orphan, the poor, the rich, the land owner, the tenant, the employed, the unemployed. God loves each of us far more than we know. The truth is, if God loves in that way, aren’t we supposed to love in that way also? Is there anyone its ok for us not to love? The truth would say love is to be shared by all, with all.
When we go throughout our day, and night, we are light bearers. We bear the light of the truth of love. Love lights up the darkest parts of each of our lives, and will do the same for all its showered upon.
May God make each of us a light bearer, one who speaks love into existence and lets it light up the darkest night in each of us.
Your fellow traveler on the Way,