What we can say to an anxious world, in ways subtle but clear, is this: there is indeed a Light that shines in the darkness, and the darkness will never overcome HIM.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. – John 1:5
With the recent attacks on Paris flooding the news, and horror stories about the refugee crisis, piled on top of the already dismal daily news, it’s times like this we fall to our knees and cry out, “Come Lord Jesus, come!” When we are faced with atrocious acts fueled by hate and fear, and look into the eyes of those who have suffered losses we can never fully comprehend, we feel powerless against such a formidable foe as sin and darkness. Perhaps this is one reason why we hold candlelight vigils. It is one way to stand up, to stand together, to tell the darkness that it will not prevail, not here.
Defining the Darkness
Candles do not merely shine in the darkness; they help us recognize the darkness of the night. In total darkness, we recognize the need for light. Some people try to use the attacks on Paris, the attacks of September 11th, and other tragedies as reasons for why God doesn’t exist. How could he? How can a just and merciful God allow such evil? But we know that even in this, God is sovereign. In a corrupt world, torn apart by sin and destruction, we recognize our need for a savior. Colossians tells us that we share in the inheritance of the saints in light, and that God “has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,” (Colossians 1:13). And while our inheritance is secure in the kingdom of heaven, we still live and breathe on this broken earth. So we mourn with those who mourn, and share the light that we have, the hope that we have with the broken hearted.
This light that we’re told to shine before others (Matthew 5:16) should not be overbearing, or condemning. This light is to draw one another closer in community, and we are to spread the knowledge of this Light to all of the dark corners of the world. Much like the candles at a vigil, that start with one candle and then spreads to the next, and the next – we are to not grow weary of doing good (Galatians 6:9), of sharing the burden, of defying the darkness with our unquenchable Light.
“After we have sufficiently mourned with those who have mourned, in the fellowship of silent suffering, there will come a time to speak. And what we can say to an anxious world, in ways subtle but clear, is this: The candle in which you glimpsed this world’s darkness and felt the stirrings of a mysterious hope—what you hoped for is true and real and contains a deeper mystery than seems possible, that there is indeed a Light that shines in the darkness, and the darkness will never overcome Him.” – Mark GalliSKM: below-content placeholder