Jesus said to them, “The light is with you for a little longer. Walk while you
have the light, so that the [shadows] may not overtake you . . . While you have the light,
believe in the light, so that you may become children of light.”
– John 12:35-36 (NRSV)
VICKI KEMPER | Where I live it is not uncommon to lose electricity to blizzards, thunderstorms, or high winds. Our electrical lines are above ground, and all it takes is one fallen tree to wreak havoc. When the power goes out at my house, I lose pretty much all the creature comforts: lights, heat, water, refrigeration, and cooking capacity.
One time the power stayed out for seven days and nights.
After that harrowing experience, I learned to prepare. Now, when a power outage seems likely I keep my devices fully charged, run water in the tub, store more water in gallon jars, put ice in a chest, and get as much done as I can while I still have light.
Jesus, trying to prepare his followers for his looming execution, is searching for metaphors that might cushion their grief and guide their lives after he is gone. First, he mentions a seed and how it has to die in the ground before it can birth new life. Then he settles on the image of light to describe himself.
The light, he says, is with you only a little while. For as long as you have it, live in its radiant fullness. Let your life be so gracefully formed by the light that even when the power goes out, even when I am gone, my love will still shine through you.