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  • Writer's pictureStephanie Stanway

Light in the darkness (1) Jan 4th 2022

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it”

John 1:5

Whilst in church on Sunday, about to lead worship I was thinking on how to welcome the

congregation, how to rally them up ready to worship our God. New year hasn’t felt the same for the past few has it? Theres a taint to it and I feel it- what will this year hold, we’ve been through dark times personally and globally and it isn't over yet. Don't worry though, we all know the ultimate ending.

I actually had a whole scene play out in my head from The Lord Of The Rings, however I opted for a simple “He reigns above it all” because he does.. but this movie scene stayed with me during the service, and if you read my writings regularly you’re going to see some strong nerd style, JRR Tolkien references because I cannot help but see the story of the universe unfold in his words. Hero of the faith- and my answer to the "If you could talk to anyone from history who would it be?" question.

Good vs Evil, the battle for mankind, the enemy always on the hunt & my focus for the next few excerpts: Light in the darkness.

We all know about light vs darkness, but what about those times when we are called to be the light IN the darkness.

The scene that I began to think on was when Frodo- little hobbit, big calling, ends up being led into Shelobs lair, Shelob is a massive spider, creepy, crawly and hell bent on devouring Frodo. (I like to have a cushion handy for this moment, because she is n.a.s.t.y and it obviously helps to hold a cushion half way up your face right?) .

The setting is a long, deep cave, Frodo looks around and begins to see darkness, death and the walls are covered with sticky webs just perfect for entangling its prey.

Out comes Shelob, big and strong and has the ability to overpower in an instance, Frodo hacks away with his sword, quite quickly realising he’s been on the wrong path and this looks like a very helpless position he’s ended up in, the cave tunnels are an endless maze with twists and turns and no clear pathway to freedom.

Then there’s this moment of realisation, Frodo remembers the light he carries, this is

a glass phial that shines brightly- he removes it and boom, light in the darkness. Shelob screeches

backwards and is unable to enter the space the light holds, Frodo runs and at some point drops his light… this is the bit that stuck with me, we didn’t see when he dropped the light.

He ends up as Shelobs victim, wrapped in a web and paralysed- given over to the depths of fear, despair and hopelessness.

Until, SamWise Gamgee, Frodos travelling companion. This guy is actually my hero of the whole series, he isn’t the main character, he doesn’t get the glory or the fame. Just a regular guy, doing his life and championing another for success (but that is another story for another day.. I told you, nerd central here!).

Sam has found Frodos light and comes running in yelling “Leave him you filth”,gets me every time.

He wields the light for his friend, his fellow comrade and wins the fight. Darkness descends back into the pit from which it came.

Light overcame the dark.

Let's look at this from a different perspective, imagine the cave is the world at the moment. I don’t routinely watch every mainstream news episode anymore, because it just feels like a constant drip of hopelessness, despair and fear and if Im not careful I can feel it taking root.

As Christians we are called to live in this world but not be of it- what does that mean? Does it mean not associating with others that have differing beliefs? Does it mean living in our own little worlds? No way, Jose!

I don’t think so, it tells us to walk these roads, and we all know being a christian doesn’t mean you’re exempt from pain and trial and hurt. We walk the roads of hardship, pain, grief and temptation, temptation to give in to the darkness around us, the fear and the hopelessness… because sometimes it feels so overwhelming what possible difference could we make to this feeling of darkness spreading, choking out the light like a weed on a rose- tangled and grasping for the warmth of the sun.

Ive walked those tunnels many times, lost in life twists and turns, finding myself in a situation I didn’t plan for and don’t remember choosing. I know the feeling of being so overwhelmed in fear and despair that I can’t breathe, can’t sleep and can’t function because I am paralysed- just where the enemy wants me.

But. We hold a light that burns brightly, if only we would show it. If we could remove it from its hiding place and bring it forth, and show others that despite our pain we will hold fast to the light, we will speak power and hope into the void.

Jesus truly is the light of the world,

“ I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but have the light of life” John 8:12.

When we feel the grip of despair or the feeling of hopelessness choking the light from us,

remember who sits on the eternal throne and speak out his name. Jesus. His word is the light unto your path, get into his word, claim it over your life, refuse to give in and do not drop your light.

Or what if we see someone else has dropped their light, life has just got too heavy for them and somewhere along the way the light of Jesus has been lost to them, they've for whatever reason become overwhelmed with hopelessness, despair and fear. What if this fresh new year you dedicated it to helping someone find him again. Pick up their light and wield it for them, pray with fervour for them, bring the light to their darkness.

Words of hope. Statements of faith. Messages of life

Be the light in the darkness this year.

This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

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