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Friday, June 9, 2023

Woodward Cave
Interior of Woodward Cave

"Darkness and Light"

Message summary: It is our prayer that each of us will always let Jesus, the Light of the world, shine through us!

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"Therefore night will come over you, without visions, and darkness, without divination. The sun will set for the prophets, and the day will go dark for them" (Micah 3:6). “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life” (John 8:12).

Wednesday afternoon we visited Woodward Cave in central Pennsylvania. This was the first time the Lapp children had been on a cave tour and for many years they have expressed an interest so I was pleased to find a cave relatively near their vacation spot.

It was an older cave but then I suppose all caves are old. The guide explained they had opened the cave for tours and had run the wire for the lighting in 1925 (wow) and that looked about right (it didn't look very safe). However we made it out alive and it was an interesting tour as most cave tours are that we have been on before.

Cave interior with lights outA feature of every cave we've toured is being deep in the cave when the tour guide turns the lights out. In our case Wednesday the lights were out for only a few seconds since a little girl who was already dealing with fear was among us. Had it not been for that, perhaps Michelle, our tour guide, would have left the lights off for a few minutes to allow the utter darkness to really sink in. If the guide was a rascal she could have even acted as if the lights would not come back on but most people carry a phone with a flashlight so we would have managed to get out OK.

When the light goes out in a cave there is absolutely no ambient light as we are accustomed to when it gets dark at night. The darkness in a cave is pitch black and utter darkness. If it were allowed I would have liked to a have a brief devotional in the cave with the lights out although I am sure it couldn't have been short enough!

Years ago I was with a group of men and boys on a retreat in the mountains and we rode our bikes through an abandoned Pennsylvania Turnpike tunnel and we had an unusual devotional in the middle of the tunnel. We turned off all our lights and the only glimmer of light you could see were the tiny, faint outline openings at each end of the tunnel.  However it was not as dark as a cave! Obviously I had to share from a memorize verse and I highlighted one of the grand teachings of Jesus found in our second daily text, “I am the light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life” (John 8:12).

Now it was an adventure to be in that darkness for a few minutes, an adventure I hope the men and boys especially remember. But I sure wouldn’t want to live in the darkness! Yet many do and even get used to it. Years ago we had a series of messages on spiritual troglomorphism, which is a condition of living in darkness to a point that sight is diminished or even lost. 1 John 2:11 states “But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes.”

Micah 3:6Persistent darkness is blinding and so is the darkness of sin. Micah rebuked the false prophets using this theme, "Therefore night will come over you, without visions, and darkness, without divination. The sun will set for the prophets, and the day will go dark for them" (Micah 3:6). Matthew Henry summarizes, "They kept others in the dark, and now God will bring them into the dark."

John 8:12Rather than living in darkness our Lord promises an infinitely better way to live our lives here on our earthly journey. “I am the Light of the world” is one of the seven “I am” (Greek “ego eimi”) statements in John’s gospel. Many see these statements as an assertion of Christ’s deity based upon the encounter of Moses at the burning bush when the Lord spoke to him identifying Himself as, “I am who I am” (Exodus 3:14).

He who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life." Jesus offers this wonderful contrast to walking in darkness. It is the condition of the one who faithfully follows Jesus. May we all have a desire to live and walk in God’s light!

In the middle of the tunnel we concluded our devotional by turning on our flashlights and singing, “This Little Light Of Mine” before continuing our ride through the dark tunnel. As I rode behind several of the younger boys making their way out of the tunnel, it was a joy to hear them continuing to sing, “This Little Light Of Mine” as they rode along. It is our prayer that each of us will always let Jesus, the Light of the world, shine through us!

This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine
This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine
This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine
Let it shine, Let it shine, Let it shine.

Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Praying manDaily prayer: Father, though many of us have sung “This Little light of Mine” since we were small children we’ve often done the opposite of what we’ve sung. We’ve shined our light when it’s safe to do so where others are accepting of who we are as we walk in step with You. But we’ve also “hidden it under a basket” in settings where it was an unwelcome sight. If we are true followers of Christ we will not waver by concealing our light since the “Light of Life” dwells within us. Your indwelling light shows us the way in this land infiltrated with darkness. We choose to walk in the light of Christ which enables us to recognize and overcome the evil tactics of the prince of darkness. Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"This Little Light Of Mine"  Click to listen on YouTube  Sunday School song

Woodward Cave
Here we are at the entrance of the Woodward Cave prior to our tour. You can see we were prepared with our jackets.

Nick at Penn State ag research
Yesterday I went for a bike ride with Nick, who recently purchased an e bike. We got off the rail trail and visited the Penn State Agricultural Research Center.

Penn State ag research display garden
The Penn State Agricultural Research Center has a variety of small, very well-watered display gardens.

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