Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” –John 8:12
Early in my career, while I was performing at the Goodspeed Opera House in Connecticut, the Grace and Light of God made a special appearance. I was sitting in our artist’s residence with my “theatre family,” enjoying, and needing, their friendship and laughter. Our beliefs were vastly different. They were into séances and chanting, while I would merely sit, quietly and uncomfortably. Looking around I thought to myself, “Is God here?” In the next second, I thought, “Of course he is, because I am!”
God in me! I have known from the depths of my being that God is my Light and Salvation, and that I am deeply, eternally loved, no matter how lonely, difficult or stressful the situations I find myself in; no matter the temptations, how lost I feel at times, the moments of profound grief; no matter how unforgiving I am of myself; no matter how many exhilarating successes I have been blessed with. To acknowledge that God is always with us, as Jesus promised at his resurrection, we merely need stop for a moment, listen for God’s still, small voice (not our own), and reflect on his word, his sacrifice and the forgiveness, grace, peace and joy that fill our hearts.
That day long ago, as I sat with my friends, feeling very alone, I closed my eyes, tuned out of their worldly focus, and repeated over and over, “GOD IS.” Soon, all was quiet. I opened my eyes to see that everyone was gone except my closest friend, who sat staring at me, agape. “Where did everyone go?” I asked. She replied, “They had to leave. They couldn’t stay because of the light around you.” She was staring at me, because I was still glowing—glowing in the presence of God’s light radiating through me. Jesus says, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.”
Lord, in this Lenten season of reflection and hope, meet us in the stillness of our souls and infuse the light of your presence into every area of our lives and into the hearts of others. Then let us boldly proclaim, “Christ is risen, indeed.” Amen.
Jeanne Lehman French is an Elder at Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church.