Psalm 23, 1 Samuel 15:32-34, John 1:1-9
Have you ever seen the night sky in a rural area and noticed the incredible difference between the visible stars there and the visible stars in a more urban area? The difference is like night and day. Having grown up in a suburban area and living in Nashville, looking at the night sky does not often include a wide array of visible stars for me, but I have memories of going camping and glancing upwards to bright, marvelous displays. The stars are perhaps our most powerful and accessible metaphor for understanding the relationship between darkness and light.
Within today’s passages, there is a power struggle between darkness and light. The psalmist and the writers of the Gospel of John recognize darkness, and yet the existence of light to banish it at the same time. In other words, the promise given in these passages is not for a complete lack of darkness; the promise is for the presence of light in the midst of the darkness. In Psalm 23, “the goodness and love” of God “follow” the psalmist even when they “walk through the darkest valley.” In the first chapter of John, the coming presence of Jesus is equated with the coming of “the true light that gives light to everyone.” In these words there is a comfort in knowing God’s presence is found even in the darkest places and moments of our lives.
It is not difficult to recognize the presence of darkness in our lives. It often seems much more difficult to recognize the presence of God’s light in our experiences of darkness. At times, we feel more like the night sky in the city with dull, isolated sparks of light glowing across a pale sky. However, the Scripture promises us a rich and luminous night sky in God’s presence to guide us along through our most hopeless and painful journeys.
This spring, as you find yourself in moments of thick darkness, cling to the hope given to us in faith: “The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.”
Hannah Rae Melis
Religion and the Arts Major, Class of 2021