I wonder what your night vision is like. As I get older I find that it’s getting harder to navigate at night in my sport of orienteering. It’s always been challenging to run at night while following a map and trying not trip over unseen objects in the darkness. But I’m finding it harder, especially on moonless nights when kerbs and imperfections in the footpath are hard to see.

The Gospel writer John likes using the metaphors of light and darkness. Jesus is the light that is shining in the darkness and the darkness did not overcome this light (John 1:5). Yet as we travel through the season of Lent, we are reminded that there were plenty of obstacles to trip Jesus up from temptation to do things his own way to the misguided expectations of others, from those plotting evil against him to his growing popularity.

In this week’s passage from John, Jesus speaks about how he must be lifted up (on the cross) to bring life to people. Out of great love for the world, God sent Jesus for this very purpose. But not everyone wants to come into the light because it will reveal their evil actions and evil intent. They are afraid of the light revealing who they really are. So while Jesus brings God’s light and God’s life, many choose to remain in darkness.

I wonder if part of us is also afraid of coming into the light. Perhaps it’s why we find repentance and confession difficult. We convince ourselves that we are doing okay and that admitting our weaknesses and failures (our sin) before God will make us feel guilty or ashamed. Perhaps then we have misunderstood God’s love. God wants to bring us to healing and wholeness and to help us live fully in the light. God is ready to embrace us like the father figure in the parable of the prodigal son. It takes courage to step into the light and admit our need. But it’s also the way to find life, true and abundant life. What are we waiting for?