Our verse for today comes from John 12:46, ” I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness. “
Recently our church celebrated a milestone anniversary, and part of the service included hearing from a few of the charter members who are still active in our fellowship. We have done this several times in the ten or so years that I have been there, and it never gets old hearing about the passion and commitment that led those first members to birth a church where none previously existed. That was back in 1970, when the world was so very different than it is today. It was on May 4 of that year that Ohio National Guardsmen shot and killed four Kent State students and wounded nine others during a protest of the recent Cambodian invasion.
In October of that year, Muhammed Ali won a boxing match in Atlanta. After the fight, over 200 people attended a party, with engraved invitations in hand, only to be met by a hooded gunman upon entering the house. Each invitee was then herded down to the basement, forced to disrobe and robbed of their money and jewelry. In September, Jimi Hendrix died because of drugs, and a month later, Janis Joplin died of a heroin overdose. It was a very different world, and it looks a lot like today. Darkness was not uniquely pervasive during some long ago era. Neither is the current evil rampant to some extreme that is new to mankind.
Darkness surrounded the glorious light of Jesus as He walked the roads and paths of Palestine, and we can see and hear and read about it in every arena that man enters, from religion to politics, in homes and at offices, in secret and online. Believing in Jesus delivers one from darkness to light. But following Jesus in a dark world can dim our brightness. Excessive and violent crime can paralyze the will, but so can day after week after year of frustrations and crushed expectations. There, in life, is where Jesus longs to meet us. His words there in scripture, they are sent to you, to bring joy and life and light to your weary soul. Let Him shine on the darkness that enfolds you.
As we seek Him today, take that concern or despair to Jesus and let Him deliver to you the brightness of a loving heavenly Father, who knows what the darkness is like.