St John 12: 36 – 43 After Jesus had said this, he departed and hid from them. Although he had performed so many signs in their presence, they did not believe in him. This was to fulfil the word spoken by the prophet Isaiah:
‘Lord, who has believed our message, and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?’
And so they could not believe, because Isaiah also said,
‘He has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, so that they might not look with their eyes, and understand with their heart and turn— and I would heal them.’
Isaiah said this because he saw his glory and spoke about him. Nevertheless many, even of the authorities, believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they did not confess it, for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved human glory more than the glory that comes from God.
Reflection Jesus words, just prior to his departing, have stuck with me as I prepared to write this reflection: “Walk while you have the light, so that the darkness may not overtake you…While you have the light, believe in the light, so that you may become children of light” (vs.35-36).
As I write, the Ukrainian members of our human family are fighting for their identity and land. Many are fleeing the violence across the borders to friendlier neighbours. Some are staying to defend their cities. Families that just a few days ago were planning home improvements, have packed a bag, and left; not knowing if they will return. I have no idea what the situation will be as you read this.
Holding to the light is difficult. We don’t need to face war to know this, but my heart breaks wherever light is shattered and darkness advances.
We see that walking as children of light was hard for the disciples of Jesus: that even those who believed in him, rejected him for fear of their place in society and for how others will treat them.
What darkness lurks and overwhelms our faith today?
What stops us from even acknowledging that there is light?
Having experienced the Word of God’s love in Jesus, the light is with us.
Full stop and no returns.
We are surrounded with witnesses – with therapists, friends, family, support workers, charities, churches and so many more – who reflect the light of Christ to us, warming our hearts so that we might do the same. Circumstances can blind us, but light persists. We can decide to walk through this world believing in the light that shatters all darkness – that we might say:
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8: 38-39)
Prayer Light of the world, scatter the darkness we pray. Open our eyes to hope, Open our ears to joy, Open our hearts to each other that we might follow you and display your likeness. Light of the world, enlighten our darkness we pray. Amen
The Rev’d Martin Knight is minister of St Paul’s URC, South Croydon and South Croydon United Church (Methodist/URC).