Kicking At The Darkness
The World As We Know It
Bruce Cockburn penned some lyrics that often play on a loop inside my head: “But nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight…got to kick at the darkness 'til it bleeds daylight…”
These words are compelling to me because we live in a dark world. The 24/7 news services keep us updated on each tidbit of darkness with headlines and sound-bites designed for their shock value.
Twenty-second teasers tweak our interest. We are overwhelmed by heartbreaking stories that come at us like a wave that never crests. So much so that our sensibilities get rattled to the max and we are tempted to throw our hands up in despair.
Reality Is Reality
A convicted sex-offender kidnaps a little girl and holds her captive for eighteen years, and queasiness rises in us.
A disenchanted man goes on a shooting spree and we shake our heads and ask why?
A serial killer creeps out of hiding to disembowel another victim and we recoil in disgust.
A race-baiting politician stirs up bigotry for personal gain and we grow immune to the tactics.
Wars and rumors of wars constantly dominate the airwaves and we accept them as the natural workings of human relationships. Israelis-Palestinian violence continues unabated and we wearily determine that peace is an illusion.
The root cause of the darkness that surrounds us is called sin. It can be traced back to Adam and Eve, entering creation through their prideful rejection of God’s authority.
The dark effect of sin distorts our perceptions and threatens to smother us. In history we repeatedly see that “the light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.” The light of Christ came into the world. He reflected the goodness of God, but was betrayed and despised because his purity revealed the depth of human depravity.
The scribes and Pharisees, those guardians of religiously-correct traditions were aghast by the onetime carpenter’s call for an all-consuming holiness. According to Jesus of Nazareth, if one’s heart was not attuned to justice, mercy and faithfulness, then time-honored customs and keeping every ritual meant nothing to God.
The heart attitude has always been the essential element in reconnecting us to our Creator. God knows us better than we do. God knows that outward appearances can be a masquerade that obscures inner darkness; God knows that what is fashioned in the heart plays itself out in the life.
Jesus was only rephrasing the expectations defined in God’s personal encounters with individuals. He was not inventing a new religion. He was beckoning us to come into relationship with the Father.Jesus was urging us to be part of the kingdom of light that acquires moral wisdom by concentrating on the character and mysterious wonder of God.
His message echoed God’s Word through an ancient sheepherder turned prophet named Amos: “I hate, I despise your religious feasts; I cannot stand your assemblies. Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. Though you bring choice fellowship offerings, I will have no regard for them. Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps. But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!”
God Is Present & At Work
For those steeped in the ceremonial, the elimination of tangible religious dogma has always been a hard sell.
The darkness infiltrates our practices to subtly alter the radical nuances of Christ’s mission: Be reconciled to God!
We create lists of duties and symbolic gestures, where God desires worship as a way of life. To embrace a day by day relationship with a righteous God has been the stumbling block of the ages.
The light of Christ came into the world and got nailed to a Roman cross. And make no mistake about it: If God’s Son were to once more arrive on planet earth in human flesh and teach what he preached in Galilee, the results would be exactly the same. We would manufacture false testimony, generate religious prejudice, manipulate the political system and do whatever was necessary to eliminate him. We’d execute him without remorse.
Yet even in our 21st Century rebellion, God loves us. In the midst of societal ills, God is present and at work. He is not willing that any should be consumed by the darkness. God pours his grace and mercy out to us afresh and anew each morning. He will not give up on the human race. In affect he keeps kicking at the darkness 'til it bleeds daylight.
- Wanted Man
Wanted Man a.k.a. Ken R. Abell, seeks to be a blessing to others. He's a rake, a rambler, and a teller of tales who understands that there is strength in a story well told and well lived. To learn more, inquire or schedule him, visit this web site.
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