Yet, as we ponder our love affair with light, we hear Jesus say this: “The light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light” (John 3:19). Pardon? I thought it was the other way around. But then he goes on to explain, saying “because their deeds were evil. For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed.” (19-20)
Ah yes. Exposure. Light does have that tendency to bring things into full view. Often there are some things in our lives that we would rather not expose, actions of which we are not particularly proud. Keeping them in the dark seems appealing.
But that’s not a good idea. As the saying goes, we are as sick as our secrets. Lent is a privileged time to look at the areas of our lives where we do, indeed, prefer darkness and shun the light, precisely in order to make the decision to expose them to light. Not just any light, mind you. The light to seek is that which “has come into the world,” a phrase used by Jesus to refer to himself. The call of Lent is to step out of the shadows into the light which is Jesus. To do so is to step into his love and into his mercy, so this kind of exposure is not to be feared. It is necessary for healing. It leads us to freedom.
The opposite to “springing ahead” is “falling back”. We shall say that in the autumn when we turn the clocks back one hour. The expression is telling. The last thing we want to do is to fall back into the darkness of sin and error, especially if we have sprung forward in faith by exposure to Christ’s light. So, let’s pray not only to step into the light this Lent but also to stay there.