Scripture: John 12: 20-36 Jesus said to them, "The light is with you for a little longer. Walk while you have the light, so that the darkness may not overtake you. If you walk in the darkness, you do not know where you are going.
Holy Week coincides with school vacation for my children this year, so we are taking a "working vacation" at a relative's place in the woods. Though we live in the same town, we live very close to the downtown, and so streetlights normally prevent us from every experiencing complete darkness at night. In the woods, though, it's a different story.
There are advantages to streetlights. Even if we forget to turn on the porchlight, at home we don't have to fumble blindly with our keys to get back into the house after an evening out. In the woods, however, there seems to be thousands more stars, and the moon shines more brightly than in our everyday world.
Of course, when Jesus tells us to walk in the light, he isn't talking about starlight or streetlights. Like everything else in the gospel of John, the light is a metaphor for following Christ's way, the way of goodness, truth and trusting in God.
Sometimes the streetlight distorts our view. It casts strange shadows and washes out colors. And yet, our eyes quickly become accustomed to the darkness of the streetlight and this faded reality seems normal. In fact, it can seem comforting, the way the view of the world on the streets at night is less complicated by the details we notice in the daytime. "Bring on the night," says one of my favorite songs. "I couldn't stand another hour of daylight." The clear light that shines out from Jesus illuminates our human failings like nothing else, yet if we stay in the light long enough, it enters into us, so that the light itself shines through us.