Run to the Darkness

(Thanks to David McQueen and Keith Roberson for their “tag-team” sermon that got me to thinking about this.)

People run OUT of burning buildings.  That’s simple human self-preservation: get as far away from danger as possible.  Yet we know there are those who run INTO burning buildings.  We call them firefighters.  We also call them heroes.

Normal human reaction is to get away from gunfire, especially if you’re unarmed.  But soldiers routinely run TOWARDS gunfire, especially when a buddy is in trouble.  And medics will do this, even though they are unarmed, to save a life.  Heroes in action.

These are examples of physical courage in the face of danger.  But there is another kind of courage, just as rare, and just as worthy of celebrating.  It is the kind of moral courage that runs into the darkness where another person is trapped.

As humans, we were meant to live in relationship with others – family members, co-workers, neighbors.  We were meant to live in community, to provide mutual support and encouragement.  But relationships are messy.  If we want to enjoy truly mutual relationships with others, that requires that we make ourselves vulnerable.  It also requires that we allow others to be vulnerable to us.

And there’s the problem: we like to keep our emotional distance.  Oh, we’re fine with relationships as long as they’re on the surface, or as long as it doesn’t require too much of a commitment from us.  But when a neighbor or a co-worker needs someone who is willing to listen, to “weep with those who weep,” to be willing to just make an investment of time, are we willing to be that person?

So I come back to our opening thoughts.  We admire the courage, the loyalty, the selflessness of a firefighter who would charge into a burning building, or a medic who races into a combat situation to save a life.  Are we willing to do the same thing for someone who needs a friend?

The world is desperate to see the love of God.  The world is aching to see Christians who will live out what they say they believe.  Are you willing to be that person?  Am I?

Are you willing to be the one who goes to the old man who lives down the street, and has no one to talk to?  Would you spend an hour a week just sitting with him and listening?

Or how about the single mom at work.  Will you be the one who reaches out to her and offers to baby-sit for a little while just so she can go buy groceries without the kids?

When Jesus said He would build His church and the gates of hell would not “prevail” against it, what did He mean?  That Hell would attack the church, but that the church would never fall to those attacks?  Well, that’s certainly true, but I think that interpretation misses the point.

I mean, think about it: Gates are for DEFENSE!  When Jesus said the “gates of hell” would not stop us, He’s telling us THAT WE NEED TO ATTACK HELL!!! Storm the gates! Rescue the prisoners trapped there!  Find those who sit in darkness and bring them out.  Somebody cared enough about you and me to go get us; now we need to go get someone else.  This is what the Kingdom of God looks like.  Each one matters.  Each one is important.  And no one gets left behind.

Be a friend to the friendless.  Be a neighbor to the lonely.  Be a brother or a sister to the one needing a family.  Be the hands and feet of Christ, reaching out to care for the least of these.

A few years ago, Kathy Troccoli released a song written by Chris Rice and Helena Teixeira: “Go Light Your World.”

There is a candle in every soul
Some brightly burning, some dark and cold
There is a Spirit who brings fire
Ignites a candle and makes His home
Carry your candle, run to the darkness
Seek out the hopeless, confused and torn
Hold out your candle for all to see it
Take your candle, and go light your world
Take your candle, and go light your world


Frustrated brother, see how he’s tried to
Light his own candle some other way
See now your sister, she’s been robbed and lied to
Still holds a candle without a flame
Carry your candle, run to the darkness
Seek out the lonely, the tired and worn
Hold out your candle for all to see it
Take your candle, and go light your world
Take your candle, and go light your world


We are a family whose hearts are blazing
So let’s raise our candles and light up the sky
Praying to our Father, in the name of Jesus
Make us a beacon in darkest times
Carry your candle, run to the darkness
Seek out the helpless, deceived and poor
Hold out your candle for all to see it
Take your candle, and go light your world
Carry your candle, run to the darkness
Seek out the hopeless, confused and torn
Hold out your candle for all to see it
Take your candle, and go light your world
Take your candle, and go light your world

Take your candle. Run to the darkness. Go light your world.

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