It is a rare experience now, for many of us, to find ourselves in darkness – at least the kind of complete darkness from which you cannot see your hand in front of your face. With street lamps, illuminated clocks and mobile phones usually so close we are rarely without light of some kind. This makes the occasional experience of darkness all the more striking. If we do find ourselves suddenly in the dark (perhaps on a walk when we have miscalculated the time of our return, or in the midst of a power cut), we are returned to an experience we have forgotten. We grope for a source of light, or we hold on to another person, or we feel our way tentatively along the fence.
For the people who first crafted, spoke or sang this Psalm, the experience of deep darkness was much more common and familiar. In such a setting they knew, as we sometimes discover, that light is so precious and so necessary; that it can be the difference between stepping on the path or off the cliff, or that it can transform terror into reassurance.
Sometimes life feels like a walk in the dark. There are perils and dangers, and not only in the night. We are fearful and anxious, sometimes even in broad daylight. At such times, these wonderful and powerful words speak to us. ‘The Lord is my light, my light and salvation; in Him I trust.’ When we are in any kind of dark we have to trust those who can see ahead. When the path is uncertain we search for a light for our steps. When the darkness deepens, we reach out for a hand to hold. And God is there.
God, let it be your light that shines on my path, illumines my spirit, and sends the darkness packing. I reach for your hand that we may walk together into the day.
The Rev’d Dr Susan Durber, Minister, Taunton United Reformed Church