Where There Is Darkness, Light
Where there is darkness, light
I am preparing a class on the St. Francis prayer. This prayer while not necessarily straight from St. Francis is a portrait of the life he led. This was his life. From the moment he saw his first vision until his death he lived the words of this prayer. He was and still is a vibrant example of the gospel life. While this prayer may or may not be original with St. Francis it describes not only who St. Francis was, but also what a life following Christ really looks like.
I would like to reflect on each line. I have posted my thoughts on this prayer once before and you can find that blog here: https://godwrestler.wordpress.com/2011/10/06/a-personal-look-at-the-st-francis-prayer/ I may even write a book based on this prayer.
The sixth line of this prayer is letting light shine, the light of God and our own light. It asks that we don’t let darkness overwhelm us that remain open for light to shine into our life and to bring light to others. Light shines and darkness doesn’t understand it, is how John’s Gospel says in his opening line. Jesus brought and brings light to darkness, hope to despair, love to hate and invites us to do the same. The sixth line of the St. Francis Prayer is about being a presence of light, of God’s love and grace to a broken, dark world perishing. There will be times when praying this prayer that we need God’s love, faith, hope, and peace in our life, as much if not more than we want to share these aspects of the Kingdom of God with others. God won’t zap us with these attitudes, but will give us moments in which to experience them in our life and the lives around us.
Darkness, the absence of light is the lack of hope, love, and faith. With this line, we ask for more of God and less of the world, more of love and grace and less of the pale parody the world offers in its place. We want God to shine his presence of pure light into our life to defeat the darkness in our hearts and souls. Paulo Coelho says that “No one lights a lamp in order to hide it behind the door: the purpose of light is to create more light, to open people’s eyes, to reveal the marvels around.” Bringing more light in the world and shinning it in the darkness is what it means to be Jesus followers. We are not to let the dark get the last word. Rabbi Yehuda Berg says, “Love is a weapon of Light, and it has the power to eradicate all forms of darkness. That is the key. When we offer love even to our enemies, we destroy their darkness and hatred…”
To offer love where there is hate, hope where there is despair, faith where there is doubt, and light to darkness means to live as Kingdom people in a broken world that wants to set the perimeters of how we live. Our world needs more of God and less of the usual stuff. To live this prayer is a way of subverting how life is normally lived and becoming more a Christ-like, God-glorifying, humble person. We cannot do this on our own, but with God what is impossible with man becomes possible. God will not do for us what we can do on our own, but will give us the strength align our life and faith more and more with the teachings and life of Jesus. With God, we can and we will love, hope, remain faithful, and bring light to darkness. This is what it means to live as a Jesus-follower, not praying for escape from our life but to live a life of meaning and reverence.
Matthew 5: “You are the light of the world. People do not 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. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
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- Tagged: Christainity, Christian life, Darkness, discipleship, faith and life, gospel, Gospel of john, Gospel of Matthew, Jesus, jesus christ., John's Gospel, Kingdom of God, light, Love, Love and Grace, Matthew 5, Matthew's Gospel, paulo coelho, Prayer, Religion, sermon on the mount, spiritual life, Spirituality, st francis, st francis prayer, Yehuda Berg