Light & Life

By Ben Swift

Somewhere in the 80s the cult film Eddie and the Cruisers released a soundtrack including the song The Dark Side. The song had many listeners thinking, particularly about one line: ‘nothing’s gonna save me from a love that’s blind, slip to the dark side and cross that line.’

What exactly does it mean, ‘the dark side?’

While it’s a mystery as to the writer’s exact meaning concerning these lyrics, they do seem to point to the influence that darkness can have on our perception of truth and life.

For what is darkness but the absence of light? While this probably seems a statement of the obvious, it does help turn our minds Godward in relation to what it means to understand God as light, love and life, and what that means for those who claim to walk in the light.

In relation to the Logos, the Word who became flesh, John testifies, ‘In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.’ (Jn 1:4-5)   

A little digesting of this verse, along with a pinch of Greek philosophical reasoning, and it doesn’t take long before important connections can be made. For if darkness is simply the absence of light, the absence of Christ is surely darkness in its purest form.

This realization really hits home in the relationship we find in Scriptures between darkness and blindness. Time and again we are reminded that to walk through life apart from Christ is to walk in darkness, the very place he has come to us, shining as a light to our paths so that we may walk in truth without stumbling.

‘The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined.’ (Is 9:2)

‘For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.’ (2 Cor 4:6)

For the light that Christ shines into the hearts of all who love him is a call to walk in his light, to shine as lights of love, exposing the darkness for what it is; the absence of God.

‘For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.’ (Ep 5:8)

To love others as Christ first loved us is surely to love as God would have us love, a love often existing in contrast and conflict with its worldly definition. For to love as Christ loves, is to love out of obedience to God. Just as Christ’s love was in his perfect obedience in all things, including a journey to the cross showing the greatest possible love in laying down his life for ours, we are called to love others through our love for God and all of his ways, the light that exposes and illuminates our paths.

‘Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.’ (Jn 15:13)

To live with hatred for others is to walk in darkness; to live for others in love is to walk in the light.

‘Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness. Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them.’ (1 Jn 2:9-11)

Interestingly, the sequel to Eddie and the Cruisers was called, Eddie Lives. But as they say, truth is often more unbelievable than fiction and the truth is, we can all live in the light of Christ; God for us.      

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