Abide in the Light

"This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” -1 John 1:5

Blinded by the Light

One of my favorite scenes from the Lord of the Rings movies is in Return of the King. Faramir (brother of Boromir) and his men are under retreat back to the city of Mines Tirith after brutally trying to defend the river banks at Osgiliath from an incoming Orc army. Nazgūl (those scary dragon looking things with riders on them) are swarming over their heads, screeching and tossing men and horses like toys, while they retreat as fast as they can. Gandalf and Pippin begin riding out to meet the retreating soldiers on the back of Shadowfax at a furious pace. Gandalf raises his staff high in the air. The first time I watched this movie I expected lightning bolts to fly from Gandalf’s staff and blow these dark gruesome creatures out of the sky. Most of you know that’s not what happens. Instead, a beam of light pours out of the end of Gandalf’s staff. The Nazgūl are overcome by the brilliance of this light, tuck tail, and run for cover into the shadows.

The Dark Side

The shadow that moves across Middle Earth is destroying everything in its path. And it’s coming for the kingdom of Man. It preys upon rulers who, through tragedy, find themselves in a dark place. It deceives them through lies and secrets in order to keep them in the dark. Evil, ignorance, dishonesty, anger, pessimism, all of these are characteristics of those under the Dark Lord’s spell. And we’ve all been there. We’ve all experienced pain and sorrow that left us feeling trapped and isolated. We’ve kept ourselves there by listening to both the enemies voice and our own. We all live there. But those who are dwelling in a land of deep darkness know a great light is coming (Isa. 9:2), because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining (1 John 2:8).

Brought to Light

Gandalf uses his power of the light to save the lives of the fleeing soldiers. Where does a light with such power come from? God speaks for the first time and commands it into existence (Gen. 1:3). Jesus says “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12) In our language light represents truth, happiness, knowledge, and purity. All are powerful weapons against darkness, and portray God’s perfection. When John says “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all”, it is simultaneously the easiest and hardest thing for me to comprehend. As children we all understand the fundamental concept John is explaining. It’s why we all needed nightlights. And yet, as an adult, I flip a switch and don’t stop to consider where that power comes from.

Sons of Light

The fellowship in Lord of the Rings is dedicated to one purpose; destroying the ring in order to rid Middle Earth of all darkness. That path takes them through dark territory, but the light of life makes them beholden to each other. John points out that “if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7). God is light. Jesus is light. We are light, but with one condition. Jesus says “ While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.” (John 12:36). Doubt opens the door, and casts a long shadow. If we say we abide in him, then we ought to walk in the same way in which he walked (1 John 2:6). There is a reason we at Brothers of Merit are passionate about Johns words in 1 John 2:10. We don’t always get it right, but we’ll die trying.

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