The summer heat has forced me to wait until sunset to walk my dog in the evening. We do our morning walk as early as we can and then wait out the 90 plus degree heat until it is safe again to go out. My yellow lab wears a 100 lb. fur coat, so this is necessary.
The other day I waited until 9pm before I got her out. It wasn’t intentional: I was writing a funeral sermon and didn’t want to stop until it was finished.
It amazed me how dark it is where I live. We don’t have streetlights in Colington, and by the time I got to the end of the driveway I regretted the fact that I had neglected to bring a flashlight or a cell phone. The other challenge before us was that our resident Canadian geese wander my cul-de-sac at will, leaving greenish black “offerings” all over the place. They are especially hard to dodge in the dark.
It doesn’t take long for darkness to overcome light, and it can sneak up on you if you aren’t prepared and haven’t been paying attention to it encroaching on your day. Or your soul.
So it is with spiritual darkness.
The Enemy can use the cover of darkness to stealthily approach any Christian life and render it blind. This is why it is always important to live our lives in the light of Christ. Christ’s light will never succumb to the darkness, but by our attitudes, behaviors, and fondness for wandering away, we certainly can find ourselves in the middle of a darkness we didn’t expect.
Our passage today speaks of the light that Christ brought to the world that was only made brighter by his death:
John 12 (Common English Bible)
Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.”
29 The crowd standing there heard and said, “It’s thunder.” Others said, “An angel spoke to him.”
30 Jesus replied, “This voice wasn’t for my benefit but for yours. 31 Now is the time for judgment of this world. Now this world’s ruler will be thrown out.32 When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to me.” (33 He said this to show how he was going to die.)
Jesus set the stage for his crucifixion. Nobody understood what was about to happen, but he spoke this truth so that they would remember what it was all about after it was accomplished.
34 The crowd responded, “We have heard from the Law that the Christ remains forever. How can you say that the Human One must be lifted up? Who is this Human One?”
35 Jesus replied, “The light is with you for only a little while. Walk while you have the light so that darkness doesn’t overtake you. Those who walk in the darkness don’t know where they are going. 36 As long as you have the light, believe in the light so that you might become people whose lives are determined by the light.” After Jesus said these things, he went away and hid from them.
It is so easy for darkness to overtake us. One little flirtation, one small giving into temptation, one harsh word spoken in selfish anger, one slip backwards into a sinful behavior, and BAM, lights out.
This is why we must be watchmen on the wall, watching and waiting. The world’s ruler is constantly on the prowl looking for cracks in our armor. But we have the light of Christ within us, and it indeed is a light that no one can extinguish.
See the light? Be the light.