We are gifted a wonderful reading from John today. Jesus is still talking (in secret) to Nicodemus and says (in part) God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. He goes on to say that within the misdeeds of people resides their own punishment, while people who "do what is true" are naturally light-filled and that is their reward.... the good deed is its own reward......Our own actions, our own deeds make us of the light or of the dark.
We all make mistakes. We all can "walk in the darkness" at times. Jesus is not condemning us to that lack-of-light-filled-place forever. We all know those moments of darkness: in our thoughts, in our souls, in our hearts. We can palpably feel that seeming absence of God in our lives. It is only a seeming absence though. For many of us have had the joyful, and mostly fleeting, experience of having "come to the light"..... it is a different kind of palpable experience when that happens, were we know in our thoughts, souls and hearts that we are different now, and loved and part of something greater than ourselves.
The reality of our lives is that, most of the time, we are walking in between these two places, someplace where we can see the darkness just over there and the light on the opposite side of us, and we are in that tension-filled mid-place, yo-yo'ing back and forth. Lent is a time for us to reflect on this choice-filled space so many of us walk daily. Lent is a time to look at that darkness to one side, understand what lies within that space, and know that there is light and love and acceptance when we step in the opposite direction. Lent is good for the soul....giving us time to reflect and understand this duality of place, with the knowledge that, as members of an intentional Christian community, we do not walk that in-between place alone, that others have gone before, are with us on that walk and will follow behind us. And most importantly, God's joyful embrace always awaits us: we just have to step toward it.
Copyright 2011, The Rev. John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.