Faith Column: ‘Let there be light’
It’s becoming almost cliché to talk about what strange days we are living in. COVID 19 continues to affect us in a myriad of ways, creating fear, uncertainty, isolation and anxiety. So many are dealing with the grief of the loss of loved ones, compounded by the incredibly difficult situation of not being able to be with them to comfort and support them. The economic impacts for many are painfully felt, adding another level of anxiety and hardship.
As if all that weren’t enough, we find ourselves culturally and politically divided to a degree that many of us have never experienced. The lines are drawn, the divisions are deep and seem insurmountable, and may very well remain so if we do not find ways to speak with one another with openness and humility, rather than retreating to our own ideological corners. And on top of that, we’re in a presidential election year. The future seems uncertain, and it can easily feel as if we are descending deeper into chaos.
I’ve been thinking a lot about all of this lately, from the perspective of the Holy Scriptures, which are full of stories of times such as ours, indeed, times far more chaotic and conflicted. There is an overarching theme in the Bible of God bringing order out of chaos, light out of darkness, life out of death. One could fairly say that the whole story of our redemption is wrapped up in this dynamic.
On the first page of the Bible in Genesis 1, God speaks, and out of the chaos of the deep, the universe is created and everything in it including Adam and Eve, and God pronounces it Good. The entirety of the rest of the Biblical story is about how we stray from God, how we are prone to descend back into chaos rather than following the path that God has set before us. We get lost. We lose our moorings. We wander far from home, that is, we settle for a life that is so far less than what God created us to be, and we scratch our heads wondering why things are such a mess.
The Biblical story is our story. It is the story of each one of us. Like the Prodigal Son, we are given so many blessings, gifts from the hand of God. We are created in His image, which means we have the capacity to share in His life and love. We are created to be in relationship with Him, but like the Prodigal Son we choose to go our own way, to become our own “god,” and we find ourselves wandering in a wasteland.
Sometimes we talk as if we need to “find God,” as if God is hidden and obscure. Nothing could be farther from the truth. God has revealed Himself to us in Christ, and in Him overcomes the chaos bringing truth and order to our lives. No matter how terrible the storm, no matter how deep the sorrow, no matter how dark the night, the Light of Christ continues to shine in that darkness, illuminating hearts that open themselves to receive Him.
In these days, more than ever, I pray that we might turn our gaze toward our God who loves us, and desires that we might live fully as human beings created in His image. When we come to our senses, and decide to return home, we find that God has never left us. He has been with us all along. Let us not give into the darkness and chaos around us. Rather, let us turn to Christ, who brings order out of chaos, light out of darkness, and life out of death.
Fr. David Henderson is priest at St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church.