My news feed and inbox are filled with terror at home and abroad. Terrorists maddened by demonic ideology – let’s call it true – have slaughtered legions of the citizens of Paris, with hundreds more wounded. Security analysts warn that our nation’s capital is next. Others speculate that Chicago, the American president’s hometown, is a likely target.
A private message comes this afternoon via Facebook: “Found out from biopsy results yesterday that I have cancer, and not a good one. Truthfully… I am terrified. And living in a house full of others who are equally terrified. This is HARD. Something has to give… at least a little.”
Terror at home and abroad.
I don’t want to leave the circle of light in my office and venture outside into the black hole of a world full of terror. Head in hands, I ask How can I help them? What can I do?
Then the images scroll across my computer….hundreds of candles, thousands being lit in dark places across the world.
But the Light that shines in the darkness and defines its shape is also the Light the darkness cannot overcome. It is the revelation of the Candle, of God’s restoration of the broken covenant, of God’s reconciling the world to himself, not counting our trespasses—this is the light that calms our fears and shows us we are not alone in the universe. For God has saved a people for himself, a people who no longer know the terror of judgment and death, and who regularly gather around the gentle flickering Light to ponder and praise this mysterious grace.
“After we have sufficiently mourned with those who have mourned, in the fellowship of silent suffering, there will come a time to speak. And what we can say to an anxious world, in ways subtle but clear, is this: The candle in which you glimpsed this world’s darkness and felt the stirrings of a mysterious hope—what you hoped for is true and real and contains a deeper mystery than seems possible, that there is indeed a Light that shines in the darkness, and the darkness will never overcome him.
So I am going home. Now.
And I am lighting a candle for my friend, for Paris, for the world.