can't see your Divine hand in front of your face,
and had this thought.
This Divine idea went off in God's head
and that spark of God's imagination
was unleashed on the darkness...
and 'bang,' a very BIG bang, God-sized even.
“And God saw that the light was good.”
One of the very first things the writers of the Bible tell us is that the light is good. In God's words of creation, in the actions of the Creator, light is brought forth and it is good.
Just a bit further into Genesis, the Divine has this other thought, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness.” We, it would seem, are made in the image of the Bringer of Light. We are made in the image, the likeness of God, of the one who not only brings light to the world but who delights in the light.
From Isaiah: “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness— on them light has shined.” This is the beginning of a series of “songs” in Isaiah that are known as the Servant Songs. Isaiah is writing to a people who have been marginalized. They've been run out of town and have been marginalized in Babylon. They've been there as outcasts for two generations and by this time this Servant Song is written, you can imagine the vision of the land they thought was given to them by their God must seem dim at best, if not completely dark. “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness— on them light has shined.”
There's this thing about being marginalized, it is almost like being forgotten. You feel terribly alone. It is like a darkness has set in on your life. Hope seems like a pinprick on the sometimes all too dark horizon. You long for grace to yank off the blanket of oppression that is smothering you so that you can see the light of day.
That's where the descendants of David are. The people of YHWH are in a dark and difficult time. Just a few short verses after the scripture I just mentioned Isaiah says, “For all the boots of the tramping warriors (those who have conquered you) and all the garments rolled in blood shall be burned as fuel for the fire. For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom.”
In those words they find hope. In those words the pinprick of hope on the dark horizon becomes a burning light in the heavens just as darkness was divided by the Divine with light at the moment of Creation ... and God said, “It is good.”
We Christians now see this beneficent ruler in which Isaiah rested the hope of Israel and by extension the hope of the world as Jesus Indeed, at Christmas and at Easter we co-opt these texts to remind us of what we have in Jesus - Wonderful Counselor, Prince of Peace.
It would do us, and by extension the world, a great deal of good to remember the context of those titles. In these texts we are told, "The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness— on them light has shined."
We live in a land of deep darkness, a world where people are swallowed up in darkness every day. Each one longing to be nearer the pinprick of hope on the sometimes all too dark horizon; lying in wait for some grace to yank off the blankets of oppression, depression and recession that divide and limit us, smother us and keep us from realizing the fullness of the potential planted in us by our Creator; hoping to one day see a better and brighter future.