Exposing Darkness and Light

What comes to your mind when you hear the phrase, "coming out of darkness into the light?" Most of us create images in our mind's eye about what darkness means and its negative imagery like danger, insignificance, shady people, vagueness, and doubt that we were taught to associate with it. How entering the light is imagined also, and what light means as a metaphor for clarity, positivity, goodness, happiness, peacefulness, and calmness.

Despite the overall tone of mainly negative images representing darkness and overwhelmingly positive images representing light that are woven through our collective consciousness, and the way it heavily impacts our social, racial, and political interactions, we are called upon to be people who no longer are darkness but are now light because of our relationship with God.

That means that we must discover a deeper and more extensive understanding of what darkness and light mean according to our relationship with God. We need to dig deeper into the mind of God to understand what darkness and light mean in our faith journey.

As you consider the meaning of darkness and light, consider the fact that the darkness of slavery, as it was practiced in the mid-1800s here in the United States of America, ended during the Civil War. However, there were some slaves that returned to their masters for various reasons, among which was survival, because thousands of former slaves died of starvation and disease due to the lack of a system that would care for them in their unsupported emancipated state.

I also have read from people who consider themselves "enlightened," that the institution of slavery was beneficial to the black people who were forced to work in captivity as they were given the word of God and thus "saved" from their former non-Christian religious beliefs.

These two perspectives of how slavery is both darkness returned to after emancipation, and "beneficial" when considering the forcing of Christianity onto the African people it enslaved, reminds us that what is termed as genuinely dark, or light must be passed through the lens of God's unconditional love and ultimately what is pleasing to God. Read Ephesians 5:8-14 and better understand darkness and light according to that passage and our response to it.

Copyright © 2021 First United Methodist Church, Downers Grove. Please report any problems to webmaster@dgfumc.org.