It’s funny how much the theme of light comes up during Great Lent and Holy Week. I was looking at an icon just a few days ago. The icon was in a dark corner with a vigil light placed in front of it and the light danced on the image making the image shimmer. The effect
catalyzed my thinking about light. In modern times most of us, who are urban dwellers, really don’t understand darkness. The ambient light somehow prevents us from experiencing true darkness. Since it is difficult to experience true darkness, can we really understand the power of light? Many times you read or better still, speak to someone about their experience of the Easter Vigil, the first thing they mention is the light and how it seems to come rolling through the Church at ‘Come Receive the Light.’
The dictionary on my computer defines light in two ways. First, it gives a very precise definition of the physics of light, photons, electromagnetic waves and energy quanta; then it uses this phrase to describe light for the rest of us “the natural agent that stimulates sight and makes things visible”. It was this definition that I’d like to explore theologically, stimulating sight and making things visible, in what way? In the Pre-Sanctified Liturgy, celebrated during Great Lent, the phrase we hear is “The Light of Christ”. It occurs to me that there is a lens by which we should filter the light we see…Christ! If our light is seen through this lens then how should we perceive it? But, Christ doesn’t say: “I am the lens” he says; “I am the LIght.” He is the source of what is visible, but what are the implications of being the source of the visible? We should define our world by His perception not our own. We see in icons and hear in hymns that Christ shatters the darkness. Does he shatter our darkness? Do we allow His Light to illumine our heart and mind? St. John states quite succinctly in the Gospel reading read during the Paschal Liturgy, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1, 5). The most difficult surrender is the surrender of our fears. These fears are our greatest darkness.
Christ is Risen!
Christ stands ready to be the Light in our darkness. Our task is to permit the Light to enter, to roll back the great stone of our own tomb to let the power of the Light penetrate our private darkness.
The Light has overcome the darkness.