Jesus, the light of the world

[a childhood friend of julia’s died today of cancer. her passing reminded me of something i wrote some time ago for i’m reposting an edited version here because the same song — and truths — are swimming in my head.]

Lately, I’ve been listening to a lot of Joe Purdy. And one song in particular from his 2007 release Take My Blanket and Go is haunting me. “Good Days” tells the story of someone who has very few of them. Most days, it seems, the person Purdy sings of would rather just stay in bed. Days are all-too-difficult because in the light problems must be faced–problems that seem to sleep once the sun goes down. Yes, the nights bring relative peace. Here’s the verse playing in my head:

You lit a cigarette
And you got out of bed
And you stood on the balcony there with your feet wet
I begged you to come in out of the cold night
You said it ain’t the dark that I’m afraid of, it’s the light…

While I’m not sure Purdy has the gospel in mind when he sings these lyrics, I cannot help but go there. The phrase “it ain’t the dark that I’m afraid of, it’s the light” is what we all say apart from Christ.

Jesus said it this way:

And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”

So what must happen for us to stop hating (and fearing) the light? What alone can bring us out of our caves of iniquity where we live paralyzed with fear?

“The light of the gospel of the glory of Christ.”

Indeed, the One who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” must shine forth in our hearts with sunbeams of mercy “to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Cor. 4:6).

Jesus stands forth today and declares, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” Let us, therefore, beg people to “come in out of the cold night” and into the warm day of salvation. Then with the Psalmist they will sing, “For with you is the fountain of life; in your light do we see light” (36:9).

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