During the season of Lent, my husband, Pastor Patrick Sipes, will be our guest blogger with a series of tactile meditations exploring Sunday’s Gospel text. He is currently serving as the transitional minister at First Evangelical Lutheran Church in North Platte, Nebraska, and will be inviting congregation members into these meditations in worship. May God bless you as you explore Scripture through Prayer.
Items needed: a small piece (2-3 inches square) of dark, preferably black paper and a piece of white paper
Dr. Craig Koester, a professor who taught me a great deal about the book of John, emphasized the contrast between light and darkness that runs throughout the book. It begins early on with John’s proclamation that “in him (Christ) was life and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not overcome it.” (John 1:4-5 NRSV) This theme of light and dark continues with our Gospel reading today and it is toward these themes that we turn in meditation and prayer today.
As we begin, take a few moments to get comfortable and breathe. Take your dark and light pieces of paper and hold them together in your hands. Feel free to turn them back and forth to experience the contrast between light and dark that they give. Take a few moments to feel this contrast and then settle in on the dark square that you hold.
As you hold this dark colored square before you, I invite you, as you are comfortable doing, to bring into the space of your meditation the places of darkness that you experience in your life. For each of us, these places are different, but what they make us experience are often similar. Our places of darkness leave us scared, our places of darkness leave us feeling abandoned, our places of darkness leave us feeling hopeless. Take some time to sit with your places of darkness.
(Allow some time for reflection)
As you find your places of darkness, acknowledge them, and also acknowledge that you are not alone. You are in a room full of people who know similar feelings to your own, and you are here to worship your God who has also experienced fear, and abandonment, and hopelessness. With your darkness feel and know that he is there with you, and as you feel that presence, turn your squares over to their light side.
As you hold this light colored square before you, see it as the Light of Christ. In contrast to darkness, light allows us to see what is actually around us and thus casts out fear. Light allows us to see who is around us and takes away our sense of abandonment. Light allows us to see new pathways forward and with that comes hope. Take a few moments to sit with the places that you find light in your life.
(Allow some time for reflection)
As you find your places of light, acknowledge them, and also acknowledge that their source is Jesus. It is Jesus who helps us to see when we are afraid, it is Jesus who shines in the lives of people around us, it is Jesus who gives us wisdom to walk new paths in life.
This is the light that we are promised, through Jesus, the light in our darkness, the light no darkness can overcome.
If you would like to explore this text as a family devotion, check out my post for Lent in a Dish 2021 on Family God Time: https://familygodtime.wordpress.com/2021/03/11/lent-in-a-dish-2021-week-4-jesus-is-the-light-of-the-world/