Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Light of the World

We're heavy on the promo-opps this week, given the fact that, you know, this is the week when Stray Drop's pivotal scenes take place. So, a couple new giveaways up today with Lena Nelson Dooley and Margaret Daley. Tomorrow I'll have two guest blogs up (no giveaways attached), so I'll give you the links to those before the interview that'll be up here.


One of the most poetic passages I've ever found in the Bible is the beginning of John. Verses 4 & 5 of chapter 1, he says, "In him was life, and that life was the light of the world. And the light appears in the darkness, but the darkness apprehends it not." (That's the Roseanna translation, as I look at the very gorgeous Greek.)

Isn't that the perfect way of stating what, who Jesus is? The light. Throughout his ministry, that's what he does--he shines into the darkness.

Have you ever noticed that when you have one little flickering candle, or maybe one little battery-powered flashlight in the middle of a pitch-black, outdoor area, that beam of light doesn't do much good. It casts it little circle of light, shines on maybe one object. But otherwise, the darkness consumes the world. And sometimes, it feels like the darkness even consumes your light. It seized it, it holds it down, it keeps it from piercing through the depths.

But Jesus . . . he wasn't that kind of light. The darkness apprehends it not. Most translations use "comprehend," which makes plenty of sense but lacks that feeling of aggression that the Greek katelaben contains. If it's "comprehend," then it's in the way of "to take or embrace; to include; to comprise." Not our typical "to understand."

It's no wonder so many people were against him, right? Who likes to have a flashlight shone in their eyes? Who wants their darkest to be exposed? It hurts. Ever read Plato's Republic? There's this great image in there: everyone's living in a cave. Some, philosophers, find their way out of the cave and into the light, where all of truth and beauty resides. But stepping out is so blinding that some just can't take it and turn and run back into the cave. Others wait for their eyes to adjust, and suddenly they can see clearly--see what's around them and see the truth of where they came from. After learning for a while, they're supposed to go back into the cave to tell others what lies just outside, if only they'll follow.

We see why the monks preserved Plato, right? This is a beautiful analogy for Christianity too. Seeing the truth about the world, about ourselves, hurts. But you have to cleanse the wound in order for it to heal.

In A Stray Drop of Blood, Abigail takes several steps on that first Good Friday that lead to recognition of Jesus of Christ. First was what I pasted in here on Tuesday, where she realizes that clinging to bitterness leaves her empty. Then when first sees Jesus coming near on the path to Golgotha, she experiences the fear that comes when that beam of light first pierces the darkness.

She had never seen the man in person before, certainly never so close. The stories she had heard, the image she had drawn was a far cry from this reality before her. What she saw was a man broken, battered, abused. What she had expected was someone with shoulders thrown back in strength, laughing in the face of the world. From what she could see as he stumbled nearer to her, he was weak–but still, a breath at the back of her neck told her there was more than merely what she could see. Even as he was half dragged along, there was a power in him. A strength that she saw in his silence, something that went deeper than anything she had within herself.

He was close now, only a step away, and Abigail had a horrible fear that he would look at her. Quite suddenly, that thought struck her as unbearable. She knew, knew with every portion of her being, that if he looked at her, he would see her in her completeness. He would see how black her soul had become with sin and hatred and bitterness. He would see all she had done and thought to do and wished herself capable of. He would see that though she wished him spared, it was only so that another could die in his place.

Something within her drew back the closer he got, pulled at her until she wanted to turn and flee to escape his approaching presence. But Jairus was still at her side, gazing silently now at the man before him.

1 comment:

  1. "But you have to cleanse the wound in order for it to heal." I love it.