The refrain in today’s reading sounds familiar: Don’t do this; instead, do this. Many of us have been raised in a faith tradition that seemed to stress the don’ts while giving considerably less attention to the dos. Similarly, it seems we heard more about the consequences of violating the don’ts than the gifts of embracing the dos.
Scripture repeatedly reminds us that right thinking, right motivations, and right choices lead to living rightly in the light of God’s goodness and grace. In contrast, selfish and sinful choices pull us into the shadows. When I have behaved badly, when I have followed self-serving impulses, when I have hurt someone I love, invariably I try to cover up my actions or disguise the motivations behind them. I choose the illusion of darkness.
In contrast, when I choose generosity, humility, sacrifice, and love, I am drawn to the light. I can welcome the light’s gifts of honesty and transparency. When I honor my true self, the person God created and calls me to be, I find the courage to step into the light. Even when that will expose my flaws, my lies, my selfish ambitions, my distorted notions of what matters, and my misguided efforts to hide all these from others, myself, and God.
When I embrace God’s will and pursue God’s list of dos, I experience the joyful freedom of living in the light of God’s love.
In what ways are you drawn to the deceptive cover of darkness? What draws you to the light of Christ?
God, “I want to walk as a child of the light. I want to follow Jesus” in whom “there is no darkness at all” (as expressed by hymnwriter Kathleen Thomerson in the Celebrating Faith album, 1999). Amen.