The sun slanting through my living room window lights only a small corner where my cat rolls round in this warm spot. I’m struck by his intention to settle in this choice sanctuary in the streaming light.
Fueled by a sense of urgency, a chorus of voices on social networks cried out for justice from beneath a shroud of foggy darkness on Martin Luther King Day this year. Twitter posts inundating the Internet seem more like modern-day Psalms than 140 character tweets. In 2016, haunting dark forces descended on our world unleashing hate, division and evil. Barbarous terrorism in night clubs, closeted KKK ghosts emerging from quiet corners of America in white robes and pointed hats, and a splurge of swastika graffiti appearing like bruises in quiet communities on bridges, school walls and homes of Jewish families, sends chills up our spines. Women, targets of sexism, rape, violence and inequality rise in solidarity, taking a firm stand for their right to justice, respect and safety. I know the fear intimately. I fear walking down the secluded path to my health club alone, so I walk on the main road; I think twice about my son traveling internationally, an American with a Jewish last name; sometimes I have questionable people following this blog and get scared just because I mention Jesus’ name, or because I speak out strongly against the objectification of women.
I know many despairing under the shroud of darkness and fear. Yet, as Christ followers, we rise into the light of holiness, into holy corners in a dark world where Christ’s light streams. Filled with divine light, we’re fueled like electric cars plugging into fuel sources, like lanterns charged with ultra powerful lithium-ion batteries, becoming lamps on the hills in the world, and like my cat, we’re comforted. In blind faith, we step out into darkness embodying Christ as “the Light of the world”. In knowing the truth of Jesus’ words, we know we will not walk in the darkness, “but will have the Light of life.” We know and trust the words of St. John, that “God is light”, and darkness has not overcome it.”
In this knowing, God’s light overcomes our fear, our terror.
Yes, Martin Luther King, Jr. was a civil rights activist, but first and foremost, he was a Christian and a minister fueled by scripture. We see the power and hope from scripture feeding his movement, paraphrased in his famous words, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” His faith, a sword that parted the Red Sea impossibility of racism, is the kind of radical faith we need today in taking part in overcoming the hate and injustices we face today — the radical faith that fueled Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, Dorothy Day, St. Teresa, St.Francis, the disciples and so many others who share the light of truth.
We step forward, part of the beloved community like “the people who sat in darkness” who “saw a great light”, like those “who sat in the region and shadow of death” — to them light dawned. – Matthew 4:16
We fuel our movement toward justice and setting the oppressed free by being branches on the vine of light. We follow and trust the words Jesus spoke to the disciples to “Believe in the light while you have the light, so that you may become children of light”. We know, “In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind” (John 1:4). And that Christ is “the light of the world”.(John 9:5)
In this time of darkness, and darkness in days ahead, we become one of the million lights like stars in the black velvet sky, disciples called to “give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” – Luke 1:79
“Fear not little flock”, Jesus said.