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Livin' in the light


Jesus cried out and said, "Whoever believes in me believes not only in me but also in the one who sent me, and whoever sees me sees the one who sent me. I came into the world as light, so that everyone who believes in me might not remain in darkness. And if anyone hears my words and does not observe them, I do not condemn him, for I did not come to condemn the world but to save the world. Whoever rejects me and does not accept my words has something to judge him: the word that I spoke, it will condemn him on the last day...Jn. 12:44-48

It would be easy to read the Gospel of John today, and say, "Hey, Jesus doesn't condemn anybody - it says so right here: I do not condemn him! It's okay to ignore Jesus' words - He's cool with that." But -like everything in the Bible- you have to read the whole passage, get the context: "Whoever rejects me and does not accept my words has something to judge him: the word that I spoke...."

The Bible contains around 100 references to light - more than a dozen in the Gospel of John. In that Gospel, Christ identifies Himself as the Light, the Light that brings truth to a dark world.

The funny thing about being in the dark is that we adjust to it. It starts to seem normal. You know, it's like when you lose electricity and you get out the candles and the flashlights. You manage, you do what you need to do in the tiny flickers from the wick and the battery. Then, when the lights come back on, you are nearly blinded - it's harsh, almost too much.

We get used to being in sin. We adjust. What first bothered us, then pricked our conscience, no longer seems to be a problem at all. We're used to it. When a light gets shined on it - a word from a sermon, a mention from a loved one concerned for us - we shy away; the light is too much. But we need that light.

You don't want to just "manage" in your life. You don't want to accommodate the darkness, and fumble around. You want to have light - even if it seems harsh at first - so that you can see everything that you need to see. We are not shooting for dimness, we are aiming for brightness and light and truth and illumination. And that is what Christ promises in the fullness of His word.

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Crossing Guard

I saw you
today
as you guided
your little man across that busy street.

You were wearing some
big man boots
and
watching cars and lights.

Your little man had on
black sneakers and
a Mickey Mouse hat
that bounced
as he walked.

He wasn't watching nothing but
your big man boots
and
the white stripes of the crosswalk.

Just before
he got to the sidewalk again,
his step bounced a bit
- he hopped over
a spot where the asphalt broke.

You turned to look,
holding out a hand to
your little man.
Not rushed or angry,
just making sure
he got up
on that sidewalk.

Then you walked on,
in your big man boots,
face into a cold Michigan wind,
with the little man behind,
his hat bouncing.