This is not part of the series on which I have just embarked (“ONE”), but it’s about the latest book by one of my favourite authors which can’t go without a mention.
“There is a crack in everything,
that’s how the light gets in.”
“The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has neither understood nor overcome it.”
John 1: 5 (my paraphrase)
The world can often seem a dark and dangerous place, and it’s all too easy to become completely overwhelmed by the darkness. The latest book by one of my favourite authors, Robert Benson, “Punching holes in the dark” encourages us not to be so focussed on the darkness that we miss the beacons of light, large and small, which result from God’s activity in the world at large.
Using personal, often very personal, stories, Benson tells of his own struggles to appreciate the Light that has already come, the sacred that is often to be found within the ordinary.
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
Isaiah 43:18 (NIV)
All too often we do fail to “perceive it” because we are concentrating on the darkness around us instead of on the Light of the World.
Benson goes on to recount his own struggle as a follower of Jesus to bring that Light into dark places. His pithy, often humorous style encourages us to take opportunity to “punch holes in the darkness”, with the promise, the assurance, that “Light will come”.
He writes about opportunities to be the Light in church, in our families and personal relationships, in our workplaces and among those who are our neighbours but not yet our friends.
I was particularly challenged by the chapters (“Driving past Community” and “Friends of silence and of the poor”) where he writes sensitively yet powerfully about our tendency as Christians to build our relationships among people like us, those with whom we feel comfortable, and fail to take the opportunity to build friendships with our close neighbours and workplace colleagues…how will they experience the light if we do not bring it?
“The light we Christians bring to each other matters.
But so does the salt that is missing in the world. It may be the only taste in this world some folks ever have of the body of Christ.
To avoid the dark and to pass by the pepper living down the road or down the block or to avoid the sailors who are not like us is to miss a chance for Jesus to turn up wherever two or three are gathered up in the storms or the calms, to avoid the moments where two or three are gathered, and we might be there to see him or be him.”
May I encourage you to read the book (I’m not on commission!), to celebrate the times and places when we find Light, and, in the places where the Light seems absent, to punch holes in the darkness as hard and as often as we can.