Today's worship comes from the Methodist 'A Word in Time' resource
This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him there is no darkness at all. (1 John 1:5)
In this opening chapter of John’s first letter, we find the emphasis on light that we find in Genesis 1 and John’s own Gospel, chapter 1. There is an emphasis on word and also light. Whereas the Son is described as “Word”, it is the Father who is described as “Light”. The presence and the ways of God are denoted by his light. The first words of creation are to call light into being. It is in the presence of that light that everything else is born: trees and plants; the sun, moon and stars; living creatures and people. We will see in the Bible how God is a pillar of light to guide his people in the wilderness after they left Egypt for the Promised Land. We will note that Jesus says of himself, “I am the Light of the World.”
God’s presence is light, which is welcoming and warm. It is hope at the end of a long journey. It is that which reveals cobwebs in well-dusted rooms and potholes on well-maintained roads. God’s light reveals danger and sends darkness to the places far beyond its reach.
Jesus tells us to not fear when we walk through dark places with him. This is really comforting and hopeful. God is light and we walk in the light of his presence and all is well.
Except that light is more powerful than simple light-casting. Light reveals and allows nothing to hide. We stand too far from the light and a strong, long shadow is cast in which faults, failings, guilt, shame and fear may hide. Waking in the edges of light, we still recognise that light is good and feel like we may know the light, so long have we walked there. However, dodging the light by stepping into the shadow is where we begin to lose sight of God’s pure radiance.
It is like sitting in an uncomfortable dark cave – damp from lack of light, and cold also because the sun never penetrates just here. As you sit in the cave mouth, you can see all that is light and lovely and good and are able to commentate and offer good opinion on the light and its benefits – you can even let the light touch your face and allow its touch to transform that part of you that you let the light touch. Gracious speech, gentle words that flow from your mouth show the potential of transformation that can come from letting the light shine onto your light.
God’s people are called to step fully into the light and to live the transformed life that comes from living fully in the light, so close to its source that shadows are not possible, save under your feet. This process – and it is a continual action – is the pursuit of holiness. Allowing God in Christ to put to death on the cross the things that are not holy and true. Jesus has already died for them and defeated them in his Crucifixion and Resurrection.
There is no place for darkness in God. There is no room for sin – things we know in our heart of hearts that are not God’s best. Holiness is a process. Bit by bit, we become more like God in our actions and attitudes to his word and the world.
Where are you standing in proximity to The Light? What difference would it make for you to step closer to the light of God
Think about light being created first. Why does this matter for everything and why does it matter for you?
Bible notes author is Rev Catherine Hutton