Darkness and Light
I find recent conversation around Light vs. Darkness challenging. I hear murmurs about re-evaluating, or even eliminating, references to light and darkness in our liturgy. I struggle because I cannot understand. I cannot begin to comprehend, down to the core of my being, why the dichotomy of white and black, dim and bright, light and dark should suggest classification of human beings.
The conversation is challenging for me, because my inability to understand has been attributed to white privilege. The idea that I can’t wrap my mind around this concept simply because skin color as an indication of good or evil isn’t part of my fabric has been dismissed. I don’t deny that there is disparity in life experience compared that of those of a different dermal hue. But it hurts my heart to think that I’m therefore considered to be incapable of automatically applying isms.
That’s my struggle, today’s post may reflect some of that turmoil.
But that’s not the point.
And There Was (and Is) Light (and Dark)
God divided the light from the darkness – Genesis 1:4
Light and dark give us division between day and night and with that division is transition. Transition in what we see – dusk and dawn, and in fleeting clouds momentarily dimming the surroundings. Transition in what we feel – warmth or coolness. Transition in time, as days and season are measured in not just day and night, but the lengths of each.
I feel beauty and see the majesty of God’s creation in each of these. The heat of the sun is welcome after the gray dampness of spring, but the cooling shade under a tree is just as agreeable in the middle of an August Day.
Over time, we’ve conquered the confines of the natural rhythm of day and night. Fire, oil lamps, candles…. now most of us have access to consistent switchable dimmable light whenever we want it. We’ve lower or raise ambient conditions to suit our mood. We’ve got blackout curtains to keep suns rays from disturbing our sleep. And we’ve even got choices of what we screw into the fixture – incandescent, fluorescent, halogen, LED. What control over our environment we enjoy!
Living as a Child of the Light, Practically Speaking
For once you were darkness, but now in the Lord you are light. Live as children of light— for the fruit of the light is found in all that is good and right and true. Eph 5:7-9
I believe it it good and right to take care of this earthly home of ours. Incandescent bulbs in our home were replaced, first with fluorescent options, and more recently with LED bulbs. We turn off lights when we leave a room. Some of our lights are on motion detectors, switching off on their own, in case we forget.
And today I removed a lightbulb in my office. I work in natural light during the day, and at night, my little desk lamp and the glow of the laptop provide adequate illumination. I say adequate, but I still feel some discomfort. I like things bright when I’m working, reading, knitting. Maybe because I’m getting older. Possibly because my vision has never been great. I definitely notice the difference. What a perfect reminder to take some time to reflect on Jesus’ journey to the cross. The room may be dim, but the emotion is not.
Thank you, Lord, for the opportunity for this simple daily reminder. Amen.
Sincere thank you to The Rev. Christynn Koschmann of ELCA Central States Synod, who provided the graphics and access to the Carbon Fast Calendar. I also used as reference the Lenten Devotional For the Beauty of the Earth, by Leah Schade, which you can use any year you like.