Light Shines in the Darkness
Zac Harmon-McLaughlin, director of Community of Christ Seminary
All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. -John 1:3-5
I don’t know about you, but in our world it is easy to become cynical. God’s beloved creation seems to be plagued with poverty, hunger, violence, oppression…and the list goes on. These problems seem so large that they overwhelm us and we often cease our challenge to the status quo simply because we don’t know where to begin.
However, John 1 gives us an insight to our own capacity to create meaningful and sustainable change in the world. “What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it” (John 1:3-5). Our being is the light of God! You, me, the other-all created with life and light! John continues, “And the word became flesh and lived among us…” (John 1:14). God not only gives us life, but God lives among us, within us, through the risen Jesus Christ. The joy of salvation, resurrection, and grace all in one place-you and me!
When I step back to recognize that I am a holder of the light of God, I am reminded of words in Matthew that call me to be a light in the world. I recognize that while these problems are vast and complex, I play a role in changing the world simply by being the person God has called me to be-God’s own beloved.
My prayer is that we don’t become cynical, but that we embrace our own light. We often think the only way to change the world is to do some grand publicized act. Jesus’ marker of success was much smaller-love God, love your neighbor. That’s how you challenge cultures of oppression and violence; that’s how you abolish poverty and end suffering. Perhaps St. Ignatius was on to something when he invited his congregants to join their lights together as a community of Christ. He ended many of his letters to them in the same way I now end this: “Go, set the world on fire!”
Let your heart be broken for a world in need. -Bryan Jeffrey Leech, \xc2\xa9 1976 Fred Bock Music Company, Community of Christ Sings 353
Lament is an expression of our grief, sorrow, and sometimes confession to God amid the brokenness, injustice, and suffering of the human family. Lament is a major theme of the psalms and an invitation to “let our hearts be broken” as we humbly pray for awareness of right and restorative action. Spend time each day this month practicing the prayer of Lament.
Loving God, break my heart open to my own and others’ suffering because of injustice. Help me stay with what is real even when it is uncomfortable.
Forgiving God, grow in me an awareness of the ways that I consciously and unconsciously contribute to systems of violence, suffering, and injustice.
Healing God, open my eyes to invitations to relieve the physical and spiritual suffering of others.
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.