This day reminds us
That we can be free from fear,
Choosing Light and Love.
You won’t be liked and that’s okay;
Embrace your true Self anyway.
One can’t account for ev’ry voice
Before they fin’lly make a choice.
Speak what words are on your heart,
Or hold your tongue (a sacred art).
Opt in and out just as you please;
Let no one make you ill at ease.
The world outside will always spin
It’s lies, but do not let them in.
Dress and speak and live your Light,
And guard your Peace with all your might.
We are new with every rising sun.
No matter what it is we’ve done,
Just know that there is hope for you,
And nothing Grace cannot undo.
So walk with Peace and walk in Light,
Try your best to do what’s right,
And listen for the guiding Voice
That helps us make a different choice.
For every valley, deep and dark,
A flame of glee begins to spark.
When we cry out from mountain tops,
A time will come when feasting stops.
Do not ask “why” of suffering;
Don’t to despair or brightness cling.
Shadows fall and light will rise.
It’s all laid out before your eyes.
Life is not life without its seasons,
And darkness has no deeper reasons
Than to balance out the light.
So keep the longer view in sight.
What now is will soon be past.
Embrace the moment while it lasts.
Think about what you can give,
For that’s the finest way to live.
On a path with darkened turns,
It’s from the givers that one learns.
For only generosity
Has the luminosity
To guide us on our winding way
And lead us home whene’er we stray.
Now when one says “a giving spirit,”
We think of those to whom we give it,
But don’t forget, for it is true,
You must be generous to you.
Read that book and drink your tea,
Take a nap or two or three.
Find someone with whom to talk
When your own journey’s hard to walk.
Find the needed still and calm,
In this loud world, a needed balm.
For only with your needs supplied
Can the call to give be satisfied.
An empty pitcher fills no cup,
So don’t let busyness disrupt
The need to nurture your own soul.
Love yourself, love the whole.
For every light,
A bit of darkness comes forth.
The reverse is true.
“He called the light day, and the darkness night. So evening came, and morning came; it was the first day.” — Genesis 1:5, REB
When God creates the universe in Genesis 1, He begins by bringing forth light. We tend to understand light as being positive. God is light (1 John 1:5), Jesus is the Light of the World (John 8:12), and we are called to be children of the light (1 Thessalonians 5:5). We get it: light is good.
But life isn’t all light and sunshine.
There is darkness in this world, both physically and in a spiritual sense. We experience pain, suffering, violence, and oppression. People starve, fall ill, are attacked, make mistakes, and leave us too soon every day.
Darkness is often portrayed in Scripture and religion as the enemy. It is the sign of evil, ignorance, and suffering. Yet all God makes in Genesis 1 is called “very good,” and in the initial verses God doesn’t eliminate darkness.
Darkness is kept, named, and maintained as an ever-present aspect of reality. As such, it is part of God’s “very good” creation. We may not like it, it may hurt, but it’s also how we are aware of light.
When a light is turned on, shadows immediately emerge. This is a law of life. What we know as “good” and “evil” are only definable in the context of each other. Both are necessary for wisdom in life.
Sitting in silent worship last night, I looked at my candle and asked for Christ to teach me wisdom. What I received was a message I have needed for a long time.
You see, I hated my darkness. I have a past, and though I’ve accepted that it happened, I hadn’t accepted that the person I am today doesn’t deserve to constantly be punished for that past… until last night.
What came to me was, “You cannot be the better man you are now if the worse man had never been.”
Have I made mistakes? YES! But paying for those and learning from them has led me to a place in which I am proud of the person I am now. I am not perfect by any means, but I am learning to love myself, and my love for others is enhanced because of it.
This couldn’t be the case if not for my darkness. The same is true for you and for all of humanity. Our darkest moments help highlight (and even produce) our greatest ones. Does this mean we strive to promote evil so that good may come? Of course not!
Rather, this message should serve as a reminder that where darkness is, light is close at hand. By the same token, where there is light, shadows fall. Therefore, we should neither be hopeless or complacent, but ever watchful for what God is calling us to.
Peace be with you!
“Take note: even if I were never actually to perform an evil act, but still willed what is evil, then sin would be as much in me as if I had carried out the deed.” — Meister Eckhart
This quote from Eckhart ties nicely into yesterday’s post about what we entertain internally and its effects on our outward presence in the world. It should also, however, make us think about our intent in what we do or want to do.
In Matthew 25:31-46, when Jesus is addressing the righteous ones who cared for “the least of these,” it is interesting to note their intent. They respond to Jesus’ praise with the question of when they ever served Jesus in the way he describes (verses 37-39). This means they weren’t striving for a reward, nor were they attempting to serve Jesus. They chose to serve the down-trodden because it was the right thing to do.
Especially in Matthew, Mark, and Luke, Jesus gives some indication that the “last will be first, and some who are first will be last” (Luke 13:30). In Matthew 6, Jesus even criticizes the seemingly righteous for their self-aggrandizing piety. Being faithful isn’t about reward or honor, but about doing what is right because it’s right. In short, our intent matters just as much as our actions.
In today’s world, many seemingly selfless efforts are enacted as an indirect means of self-service, from mission trips to charity organizations. Likewise, many failed efforts at changing the world come from a rrue desire to help. Further, many things are said and done on a daily basis with veiled intent, but because the “front” is palatable, we don’t mind.
For example, I live in the southern U.S., which is “bless your heart” territory. If you have any southern experience, you know that the phrase “bless your heart” is typically a veiled insult that represents southern passive aggression.
If we care about intent, though, as Jesus certainly does in the Gospels, it might be best that we clean up such niceties.
For me, the message God is giving to me is to judge every word, deed, and intention by the standard of whether or not it will help.
Will this help shine the Light of Christ?
Will this help my neighbor?
Will this be an act of love and help the situation, or will it be an act of spite only to make things worse?
I am convicted by these questions, and, if we are honest, most of us probably should be. Conviction is good, though, assuming it leads to change. I pray you will join me in honestly trying to be a helpful force for love, good, and light in this world.
Just a thought.
Peace be with you!