Those are certainly familiar words. A Mass by Leonard Bernstein has a song “God Said” with the words “God said, Let there be light, and there was
God said, Let there be night, and there was
God said, Let there be day, and there was
Day to follow the night
And it was good, brother”
Light is good. At St. Mark’s we have new light coming in. Church members are installing the new energy efficient, high output lights. The difference is already striking in the hallway.
At home we are trying out some of the new “so-called “Edison” lights, modeled on some of Thomas Alva’s first lights. They are softer than what we normally use, almost gentle, more yellow. We will see how that works.
Meanwhile, though, we still need more light. Light is a traditional image for enlightenment, awareness, understanding. We need all of those qualities in abundance these days. So many of our public conversations and public behaviors lately are marked by some really dark attitudes and assumptions.
We have a way to get through the dark and into the light. We can walk in the light now. We have to be willing to work at it some, though. Traditional spiritual practices increase both our awareness of the light already in the world and our capacity to transmit that light into additional places in the world. Reading scripture for meaning, not simply facts, prayer, meditation, holy conversation, feeding the hungry, working for justice, and more are among these traditional practices. John Wesley spoke to his time and ours when he grouped many of the practices into works of personal piety and works of social holiness.
Light is all around us. Only light can drive away the darkness. There is an old story about that work of light:
"A rabbi asked his students: when, at dawn, can one tell the light from the darkness? One student replied: when I can tell a goat from a donkey. No, answered the rabbi. Another said: when I can tell a palm tree from a fig. No, answered the rabbi again. Well then, what is the answer? His students pressed him. Not until you look into the face of every man and every woman and see your brother and your sister, said the rabbi. Only then have you seen the light. All else is darkness."