“To love is to be vulnerable; and it is only in vulnerability and risk—not safety and security—that we overcome darkness.” (Madeline L’Engle, A Wrinkle in Time)
You would have to be living in a cave somewhere in the outer reaches of civilization to not be able to see that the world we live in is so very dark. Honestly, even in that cave, away from news and social media, I would sumise that the darkness of this world could still be felt. Even without 24 hour news channels and social media, the darkness of our world would most likely still be felt in our very core.
In my honest opinion, I truly believe that one of the biggest weaknesses in the Christian Church today, at least in the Western Church, is our blindness to this fact and our silence on these matters. In an effort to insulate or protect ourselves in the name of safety or security or purity or even dare I say out of fear, we’ve failed to be a light in the darkness.
If you’ve been following me at all this Lenten season, I’ve been exploring, through the book of 1 John, what it means to be Christian. We’ve seen that to be Christian, we have to be “little Jesuses” or “imitators of Christ”. We’ve also learned that God is love and since Jesus is the exact representation of God to us, that means he is love and to imitate him means we are also to be love. But, what does this love look like? Is it silent and risk-free and insular and only in word? I believe what we’ve learned is that this love looks sacrificial, vulnerable and extremely risky.
Another theme in 1 John is the theme of light vs. darkness. John is the expert when it comes to this metaphor. In his gospel, he tells us this about Jesus, “In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:4-5, NIV)
So, Jesus is the light that shines in the darkness. What does that mean Christians are to be in conjunction with love? Light. Love and light. What is the world filled with right now? Hate and darkness. What is our role as Christians living in this world? I believe we are called to drive out the hate and the darkness with light and love.
I also firmly believe we are called to do this intentionally, sacrificially and actively. Hate and darkness are not overcome by empty words and platitudes spoken behind secure and safe church walls and computers. They are overcome by the light that lives in us extending out of us in vulnerable and risky ways.
Until we love in this way, in action and deed, the darkness cannot be overcome. There is hope and that hope comes from those who claim they follow the Light and the Love and actually live like Him.
“This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another…” (1 John 1:5-7, NIV)