The crowd answered him, “We have heard from the law that the Messiah remains forever. How can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?” Jesus said to them, “The light is with you for a little longer. Walk while you have the light, so that the darkness may not overtake you. If you walk in the darkness, you do not know where you are going. ~ John 12: 35-36
Join me today on our way to San Miguel. We climb up the mountainside slowly and carefully. It has just rained. And the narrow clay road is slippery. Although it is only wide enough for one vehicle, others pass by consistently. Our driver pulls over as much as possible to let them by. The ascent is breath-taking. The countryside is lush during the rainy season. And out of the mountains some little rivers and waterfalls come out of rock hewn crevasses. It is not only breath-taking for its panoramic views but also for the steep climb on a questionable road, with sharp drop-offs and no guard rails. This is only a 300 kilometer trip, but it will take eight hours. Slowly we start to understand why. Between the water-logged clay road, vehicles passing, slowing for large chunks of boulders in the path, twists and turns on the mountain passes, there are campesinos (farmers) walking with their small herds of llamas and alpacas. We continue our ever-so-slow climb on hair-pin turns, even as darkness descends accompanied by thick, dense fog. We cannot see more than a couple of feet ahead of us. On this road. On this already dangerous road.
The fog and darkness can curve in on us in our lives too. And particularly at this time of pandemic, that thick fog can settle in. But to our darkness and thick dense fog, God sends us Jesus Christ. And in John’s Gospel, Jesus is the light of the world. The light of Jesus Christ illumines the dark corners of sin and death, exposing places of suffering and pain and shining light and hope into every corner of the world. Jesus, the light of the world, goes ahead of us on the path to light our way.
For me, Easter marked a lifting of that fog and darkness. And in its place, there is an acceptance of this new normal. Christ lights the way as we move forward in this next phase. And we will be church in some new ways.
The light of grace has goes ahead of us on the road, just like that night on that Peruvian mountainside. God guided the way through a Peruvian helper who got out of the vehicle at one point and literally walked ahead of the vehicle. The One who guides our way in the dense fog and darkness of pandemic is Jesus the light of the world, whose light cannot be extinguished not even by death on the cross. God, through Jesus, provides us light on the way. And that light of Christ lives in us. We are this light for one another, too, in the fellowship we share even as we are apart. We follow Jesus, the One who lights our way, who clears the fog of our fears and of this pandemic time. Then let us walk in the light of Christ who guides our way, who gives us hope, and whose grace shines in our hearts.
God of resurrection, we thank you for your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, the light of the world. Shine the light of Jesus into our darkness and fog. Light our way, guide our path, be with us so that we can be a light to others through this time of pandemic. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.