27 “Now I am deeply troubled. What should I say? ‘Father, save me from this time’? No, for this is the reason I have come to this time. 28 Father, glorify your name!”
Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.”
29 The crowd standing there heard and said, “It’s thunder.” Others said, “An angel spoke to him.”
30 Jesus replied, “This voice wasn’t for my benefit but for yours. 31 Now is the time for judgment of this world. Now this world’s ruler will be thrown out. 32 When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to me.”(33 He said this to show how he was going to die.)
34 The crowd responded, “We have heard from the Law that the Christ remains forever. How can you say that the Human One must be lifted up? Who is this Human One?”
35 Jesus replied, “The light is with you for only a little while. Walk while you have the light so that darkness doesn’t overtake you. Those who walk in the darkness don’t know where they are going. 36 As long as you have the light, believe in the light so that you might become people whose lives are determined by the light.” After Jesus said these things, he went away and hid from them.
John 12: 27-36 (CEB)
Have you ever been “left in the dark”? No, not in the literal sense of being left in a room where the lights had once been on and were turned off. I’m talking more in the figurative sense of not being privy to all the information of a certain situation or lacking awareness of something going on around you. How does it feel? Maybe you’ve felt offended that someone did not think to clue you in with all the details? Maybe you’ve felt relief because awareness comes with responsibilities? Do you prefer to be clued in? Are you okay with being left in the dark? Take a few moments to reflect on how you would feel if you were left in the dark.
When I was younger, I often felt as though I was being left in the dark. I would be “dismissed” to the kids table while the adults talked about more serious matters in the other room. Sometimes my parents would share information with me on a “need to know basis”, and I now realize that they were doing it for my protection and safety. But as a child full of curiosity, I always fought back with the dreaded (and repetitive!) question, “WHY?”. Being left in the dark filled me with uncertainty and worry, and I just wanted to know their reasoning for withholding information from me.
Jesus was not immune to the feelings of uncertainty or doubt. He clearly says that his soul was troubled as he prepared for his death. But Jesus was not left in the dark when it came to a reason for his feelings of worry or anxiety. Jesus knew the answer to his own questions of, “Why? Why do I have to die?”. He was ready to glorify the name of his heavenly parent and to save a broken human race. Jesus shed light on his own situation and continues to shed light in our lives today.
When you are left in the dark and consumed by feelings of doubt and worry, be assured that you are not alone. The light of Christ has not deserted you, nor has it been withheld from you. The God of light is beside you and within you. Jesus reminds us, “While you have the light, believe in the light, so that you may become children of light.” So, children of light, do not let others be left in the dark! Bless others by sharing the light of love, grace, and justice within you so that they might go and do the same. Brighten the world through acts of service, generosity, and hospitality. Empower others to let their light shine, especially when they have been discouraged to do so.
See the light. Believe in the light. Feel the light. Spread the light. Be the light.
Illuminate our lives with your light that shines through the darkness. Like Jesus, grant us wisdom to know your will, courage to follow it, and grace to do it in a way that blesses others. Amen.
Jayme C. Babczak
First Level, M.Div./M.A.C.E.
Jayme is currently seeking ordination within the United Church of Christ and continuing to discern God’s call!