To say that light is created on the first day is to say that light is at the heart of life. It is the beginning of creation in the sense that it is the essence or centre from which life proceeds. At the heart of all that has life is the light of God.
–J. Philip Newell, The Book of Creation, 3.
Then it seemed as if men must proceed from light to light, in the light of the Word,
Through the Passion and Sacrifice saved in spite of their negative being;
Bestial as always before, carnal, self seeking as always before, selfish and purblind as ever before,
Yet always struggling, always reaffirming, always resuming their march on the way that was lit by the light;
Often halting, loitering, straying, delaying, returning, yet following no other way.
–T.S. Eliot, “Choruses from the Rock.”
Though many people were (wrongly) disappointed with its ending, I was a huge fan of the show LOST. Ultimately, the show was about a battle between the attempts for good and the distractions of evil that we all work our way through in this life. I thought of the show particularly during Peter’s sermon this week, as he described the unfortunate heritage of “light” and “dark,” which are often described as good and bad respectively. In LOST, the two embodiments of the struggle on the island were visually represented by the physical colors of white and charcoal gray, but neither side was ever thought to be thoroughly good or bad; they simply were the two sides. It was a dichotomous conflict that the show’s writers detailed through six seasons of flashbacks, flash-forwards, flash-sideways, and moral ambiguity. It was difficult to know who was or who would end up being “good.” The characters all had sordid pasts filled with mistakes, missteps, misfortunes, and misunderstandings. But on the island of a million confusing and mysterious questions, they were forced to choose who they would trust and who they would not. In the end–and I’ll try not to spoil too much–the characters found the ultimate goodness, the true ability to “step into the light,” in their commitment to one another. They found love and friendship and community and life together. As Jack Shepherd, the de facto leader of the survivors of Oceanic 815, always said, they could “live together or die alone.”
For me, I resonated with the overarching message of the series because of its willingness to explore the complexity of our journeys as human beings and its insistence that, in the end, the most important piece of who we are, the true light that we can all walk in, is found in our journey together. As a community of faith, I feel that we are continually discovering and re-discovering the beauty of that light. And as we so often walk into the unknown ahead of us, may we carry each other as bright lights into an uncertain future.
I really like this John Mayer song and was reminded of it during these past couple of weeks. As you listen to it, I’d invite you to jot down your own thoughts about light and darkness. If you feel comfortable, share your own thoughts and responses in the comments section as we continue our ongoing conversation through this series.