3rd, no 4th Sunday Lent – It’s all in Genesis…
Light, day; Night, darkness; evening, morning. They appeared in Sunday’s gospel with that special flair that John brings to the New Testament.
The light, the morning, the day point to the ‘place’ of mutual indwelling between Father & Son & Spirit & disciples who believe. In this instance, believing signifies more than a state of assent to Christ’s divinity, it’s rather the action of stepping into the light to expose the deeds of Night we all disdain. It’s all of a piece – Light & Life, Shepherd & Flock.
The first two chapters of Genesis concern separating stuff – light from darkness (before the creation of the sun & moon & stars on the 4th day), waters of below from waters above the firmament, land from water, flying critters, creeping & swimming critters each in their own domain.
Male & female were not separated from each other in the first two chapters. Rather, their difference signifies how we are together yet different as image of God.
Genesis 1:1f In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light. And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.
Genesis 1:5 God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first Day.
Genesis 1:13f And there was evening and there was morning, the third Day. And God said, “Let there be lights in the dome of the sky to separate the Day from the Night; and let them be for signs and for seasons and for Days and years,
Genesis 1:16–19 God made the two great lights —the greater light to rule the Day and the lesser light to rule the Night —and the stars. God set them in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth, to rule over the Day and over the Night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth Day…
Why separate? One theory was that parts of Genesis were composed after the destruction of Jerusalem either when people were in exile or when called back from Exile. Separating light from darkness the first day suggests to me an existential division – that which leads to God from that which leads away from God. [I’m sure my betters will correct my notion… please!]
Moses gave Torah, the Instruction that revealed the works of darkness – murder, adultery, theft, coveting, and, primarily, idolatry. A lot of smiting didn’t work so well as motivation.
Jesus’ words and deeds opened a path from the ways of darkness to the ways of Light.
It’s the deeds of Night we disdain. And we make others pay the price for you and I being unwilling to step into the Light to be seen.
Christ is the Light!