Light in the Darkness

Driving around the neighborhoods and cruising through the Target aisles, it is obvious that many people and customers are excited about the darker side of Halloween. Gruesome fake body parts (I will spare the details here), gravestones, nooses, and the like are scattered around yards and stacked in aisles alongside the more innocuous spider webs and ghosts.

There is something deceptive that attracts us to darkness. Why does the news media report on the Jeffrey Dalmers of the world? Why are some people so attracted to horror movies, books and tv shows? Watching such things makes our hearts race — we sit on the edge of our seats and delight in being scared.

I am not pointing fingers or judging. One Halloween I went to a teen party dressed up as Lady MacBeth with blood on her hands. As a tween I played “light as a feather” and held hands and pretended to do a seance. Guess where I did those things? At a church function! Obviously the caretakers did not know what we were doing. As children, we did not know that God directly tells us to NOT do such things.

” ‘Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists, for you will be defiled by them. I am the LORD your God. Leviticus 19:31

God has done a lot of working in me since those days. I have no desire to be defiled, but sometimes I feel a little dirty just being around evil. If we have and use a newspaper, a television, the internet, even the library — we will be confronted with the face of the darkness of this world.

But praise God, I do not have to walk in darkness! Jesus made some statements while teaching in the section of the Temple Treasury. This was the part of the Temple where offerings were collected — and where candles were burning to symbolize the pillar of fire that led the Israelites out of the wilderness. Surrounded by burning candles, Jesus said:

“I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” John 8:13

In Exodus 13, we are told that when the Israelites set out on their journey, the Lord went ahead of them. He guided them during the day with a pillar of cloud, and he provided light at night with a pillar of fire. This allowed them to travel by day or by night.

Jesus residing in my heart fills me with light, so that even when I have to pass by the “decorations of death” (for lack of a better term) on the shelves and on the streets, I am not defiled. I am not in the darkness, and I am not taken in by the lure of evil. I have the light that leads to life. planelight.jpg(This is a picture Cadi took of the light on the wing of the airplane as they flew over Canada. If we follow Jesus’ teachings, our path is marked out for us as clearly as the light created by the moving airplane and captured by the camera.)

Life, not death.

I will finish these musings with more verses from Jesus about light. I thought it would be appropriate to shout them out this week:

the people living in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death
a light has dawned.”[a]
17From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” Matthew 4:16-17

14“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16

21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
22“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. 23But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
24“No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money. Matthew 6:21-24

We have nothing to fear at Halloween or at any other time of the year. Christ has given us authority over the agents of darkness in this world. He sent out 72 disciples ahead of him to heal the sick, drive out evil spirits, restore sight to the blind, give hope to the hopeless. And here is what happened:

16“He who listens to you listens to me; he who rejects you rejects me; but he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.”
17The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”
18He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. 20However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
21At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.

Thank you, indeed, Father, for sending Jesus to be the light shining out in the darkness.

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