Maybe it’s because we’re just two now in a house that still feels made for six.
Maybe it’s the tiny snatches of news I listen to, ominous pandemic predictions and sadness around the world.
Whatever the reason, I’ve been lighting our window candles in 2021, a practice I have always reserved for Advent, but which feels necessary for pushing back the darkness that’s advancing as our planet leans away from the sun–and as our world seems to lean further and further away from the only source of True Light.
In his postcard-sized epistle to the early church, John was warring against darkness in his own day:
This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that 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 practice the truth.1 John 1:5-6
In John’s writing, darkness becomes a metaphor for self-deception, sin, and even isolation. When he uses the term fellowship, he’s not thinking potlucks. He’s sounding the alarm about eternal life. Fellowship is all about salvation and then living in a way that does not repudiate the believer’s claim to faith.
John is inviting his readers to humbly submit to the searching power of Light:
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.1 John 1:7
Notice that the blood of Jesus doesn’t render us sinless, but instead provides a remedy: cleansing. Walking in the light becomes a metaphor, then, for truth, purity, and reconciliation.
Jen Wilkin points out that “there are two ways to escape feelings of guilt about your sin. One is to repent. The other is to repeat the sin over and over again until you no longer feel remorse.” This, by definition, is walking in darkness, choosing darkness instead of light.
John’s call to walk in fellowship and purity is a candle in the window, beckoning me toward the One in whom there is no darkness at all. His offer of continual forgiveness is my only hope of an ongoing relationship with God.
Fight Darkness with True Light
Thanks to my garden, I’ve soaked up a lot of sunshine this year. I’ve taken Vitamin D to boost my immunity and to prepare myself for a long winter here in Mid-Coast Maine. I’m enjoying the yellow glow of window candles, beckoning me into homey warmth when I’m outside and pushing against the early dusk when I’m barely through with the supper dishes.
But that is not enough light to counteract our culture of isolation or the enemy of my soul.
If you dread the coming darkness here in the Northern Hemisphere, and if you feel yourself succumbing to the darkness of error and self deception, lean hard toward the Light. Regular doses of truth from scripture are like Vitamin D for your soul.
Let spiritual practices of prayer and meditation strengthen the cords of connection between you and God. Through purposeful hospitality and the ministry of intercession, war against isolation and strengthen ties between you and other believers. Reach out beyond the safety of your usual group and be the light shining in someone else’s darkness.
Don’t allow the coming darkness to drag you into patterns of sin, isolation, or self-deception. Make the decision to “walk in the light.” Begin today.
Holding You in the Light,
John’s call to walk in fellowship and purity is a candle in the window, beckoning me toward the One in whom there is no darkness at all. “Walk in the light…” (1 John 1:7)Tweet
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