Resurrection House Blog: Be a Light in the Darkness
Be a Light in the Darkness
I wonder if you’re ready to hear a story?
There once was a little soul who knew itself to be the light. This was a new soul and it was anxious for experience.
“I am the light” it said. “I am the light” Yet all the knowing of it and all the saying of it, could not substitute for the experience of it.
And in the realm from which this soul emerged, there was nothing but the light. Every soul was grand and every soul was magnificent and every soul shone with the brilliance of God’s awesome light.
So the little soul was like a candle in the sun. In the midst of the grandest light, of which it was a part, it could not see itself, nor experience itself as Who and what it really was.
Now it came to pass that this soul yearned and yearned to know itself.
So great was its yearning that one day God said, “Do you know little one, what you must do to satisfy this yearning of yours?”
“Oh, what, God? What? I’ll do anything!” the little soul said.
God answered, “You must separate yourself from the rest of us, and then you must call upon yourself the darkness”
“What is the darkness, Lord?” the little soul asked.
“That which you are not” God replied, and the soul understood.
And so this little soul removed itself from the ‘ All ‘ even going into another realm. And in this realm the soul had the power to call into its experience all sorts of darkness. And this it did.
Yet in the midst of all the darkness the soul cried, “Father, Father, why have you forsaken me?”
God replied: “Even in your blackest times, I have never forsaken you, but stand by you always, ready to remind you of Who You Really Are;
Always ready to call you home.
Therefore be a light in the darkness and curse it not.
And don’t forget who you are in the moment you are encircled by that which you are not. But instead sing praises to the creation even as you seek to change it.
And remember that what you do in the time of your greatest trial can be your greatest triumph. For the experience you create is a statement of Who You Are – and Who You Want to Be.”
This story is from a favorite childhood book titled The Little Soul and the Sun. I was reminded of this story as I went over the readings for this week. As I was in search of good news to tell you I found myself drawn to two themes: The presence of God, and light.
First in Isaiah we hear, “You shall call upon the lord, and he will say, “Here I am.”
What a great comfort to hear those words.
Here I am.
These are the words frightened children are relieved to hear from their mothers and fathers.
The words we long to hear from our spouses and partners in times of need or sorrow.
The words we are so grateful to hear from our friends or co-workers when we realize we have have failed to juggle all of the tasks of our busy lives.
Here I am.
However, it is important to note where God says he is or will be. The people are questioning God’s presence and approval. “We fast and you do not see, we humble ourselves, and you do not notice.”
This passage was likely written after the people of God had been exiled and Jerusalem destroyed. The people are in mourning, and seeking justice. They were praying and fasting in hopes of God answering their prayers.
As an A-type personality, overly-responsible eldest child, I know what it means to follow the rules and do the “right” things. Perhaps you too have been caught valuing yourself not based on who you are, but what correct acts you have followed. It’s easy to do. We place value on our performances, forgetting that that is not how God works.
The people are crying out, asking God why he is not giving them justice, and God replies with a question, why are you withholding justice from others?
As with the story of the little soul, we can burn magnificently, but if we are not in darkness, we cannot experience who we are. If we are not being a light to others we will not know the brightness of our flame.
“Share with the hungry. House the homeless. Clothe the naked. Then your light shall break forth like the dawn. You shall call upon the lord, and he will say, “Here I am.””
In our baptismal covenant we state that with God’s help we will seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving our neighbors as ourselves. That we will strive for justice and peace, and that we will respect the dignity of every human being.
If we truly mean what we say, then it is not just God to us saying, “Here I am.”
But it is me to you saying, “Here I am.”
And you to me, “Here I am.”
And us to them, and them to us, “Here we are.”
God says, “Here I am”, not after the people have followed the rules, or fasted the appropriate amount of time, but after they have sought to help those around them. He is not looking for proper doctrine, but empathetic behavior.
Barbara Brown Taylor in a sermon about the Good Samaritan states, “Right belief means nothing if not followed by right actions.”
During my time in Omaha, both at St Andrew’s and with my nonprofits I have seen compassionate people complete wonderful tasks for others, but there is more work to be done.
In Montana we have a saying that goes, “There is no such thing as bad weather, only soft people.”
As we lean down to help our neighbor up. As we comfort those in deep sorrow. As we pray for those in need. As we volunteer to feed the hungry, house the homeless, and friend the friendless we will encounter darkness. We will at times be grasping and crawling to try and get back into our comfort zones.
But we are not soft people.
We are an Easter people, and we with God’s help will call upon us the darkness, if only so we can be a light to others, and that they in turn can be a light to us.
And we must remember we are never alone.
“Then you shall call and the Lord will answer; You shall cry for help, and he will say, Here I am.”
Breathe deeply the breath of God.
– Reagan Grabbe