This weekend we turn our clocks forward to Daylight Saving Time. So, I am thinking about the importance of and essentiality of light in our lives. Think about all the ways that light affects us. We need the light to see where we are and where we are going and also what we are doing. Sunlight is also important to our bodies. When our skin is exposed to the light of the sun, vitamin D is produced! It affects our moods and outlook. Some people suffer from Seasonal Affected Disorder (SAD) – a physiological reaction to the fewer hours of sunlight experienced in winter. Further, isn’t is curious that the issues that seem manageable in the light of day, are at least unmanageable if not terrifying when we are left to our thoughts in the middle of the night? Suffice it to say, without light, we die.
Light is one of the most significant themes in all of Scripture. A strong relationship is made between physical and spiritual light. In the Beginning, Light broke through at God’s command. Psalm 119:105 says: “Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” Jesus said: “I am the light of the world!” When someone’s heart was turned toward God, it was turned to the light. This was the case with Nicodemus- a Pharisee. He was also a member of The Great Sanhedrin – the Supreme religious body in Israel. It was the final authority in all judicial matters in Jewish life. These officials were knowledgeable in all aspects of the Law…or so they thought.
On one occasion, it was Nicodemus who approached Jesus at night, wondering about the “possibility” of being “born again.” Jesus, engaged him took the time to teach Nicodemus. “While humans can only produce human life, the Holy Spirit gives birth to Spiritual life,” Jesus said. (John 3:6). Further, Jesus connects the Old Testament saving action of God, in the healing bronze snake lifted up by Moses – to His saving action in the cross.
Had the light dawned in Nicodemus’ life? We do not hear him again…until Jesus’ death. After Jesus died, Joseph of Arimathea (a secret disciple of Jesus) removed Jesus’ body from the cross. With Joseph, came Nicodemus, who brought 75 pounds of myrrh. Nicodemus’ presence with Joseph coupled with extravagance of the amount of myrrh symbolized his deep devotion and faith. He had moved from the confusion (darkness) to devotion (light).
As the daylight hours increase, and the days gradually become warmer, we are drawn from our wintery “safe houses.” In the same way, the light of Jesus draws us from places of confusion and darkness. Have you experienced the light of Christ? Do you have questions that you would like to bring to Jesus? His love and grace draw us in.
Read the encouraging prayer from the Book of Common Prayer…
Lighten our darkness, we beseech thee O Lord and by thy great mercy defend us from all perils and dangers of this night; for the love of thy only Son our Saviour Jesus Christ, Amen.