Light and Dark

Posted under The Rectory Bulletin

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. (1 John 1:5–10)

John began his letter by laying out his credentials: he had seen, heard and been around Jesus. This person who was “from the beginning”, this “life made manifest” was someone whom John knew and had followed. He is the eyewitness, and he then goes on to lay out in a few verses what he had heard from Jesus.

First of all the Apostle sets out a radical distinction: light and dark. This had been a theme in the Gospel too, and it is at the core of how we should understand God. He is light. In him there is no darkness at all. There is a purity to God which is beyond our reach, yet we are called to fellowship with him, to walk with him

How might this be? The answer John gives is two-fold. First of all he urges us to simply live the Christian life, to be part of a group of Christians and to put into practice Jesus’s teaching. Secondly, though, he acknowledges that this walk is plagued with pitfalls. Although we can set out with good intentions, it is also the case that we sin. All of us. In fact, “if we say we have not sinned, we make him [God] a liar, and his word is not in us”.

This is why confession is such an important part of the Christian life. It is a signal that we are trying to live in the light, and that we lament over the things we get wrong. To confess (to God or to another person) is a sign that we recognise that we are not perfect, as God is perfect. It is a sign that we are striving to be more faithful.

And then what a joy to know that we will be ‘cleansed’.

Susannah’s Story

She brought up her children in the faith, and would hold family services where psalms were sung, and a sermon was read (either from her husband or her father) ... She was also a woman of prayer, and the story goes that in order to get some peace in the bustling household she would throw her apron up over her head to pray.


Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. (1 John 2:4) - We might stumble, we might be imperfect but we are still seeking to live in the light.

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