Earlier this month, under the cover of darkness, the statue of the Ten Commandments on Oklahoma Capitol grounds was removed quickly and without fanfare. The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled that it must be removed because it violated religious rights of those who don’t believe in the Bible. Knowing people would protest it’s removal, the decision was made to do it secretly at night, so no one could oppose.
Also in the dark of night, but much less secretly, over 700 people gathered in Detroit to watch the unveiling of another religious statue. Much less benign, this event became known as the largest public satanic ceremony in history. The 9 foot statue unveiled was of Baphomet, the idol of contemporary Satanists, featured on a throne with 2 young children looking up at him in admiration.The symbolism is both obvious and horrifying.
Darkness has always been a symbol of evil and secrecy, especially in great literature.
In Charles Dickens’ classic, Great Expectations, light and darkness help to illuminate the true character of men, and display the ever widening gap in society between the good and the evil. There are many references to the shadowy darkness, where evil occurs, and the bright light of day which reveals all secret acts. Joe’s good character emits light to guide Pip in the right direction, while Miss Havisham’s house is almost always completely dark. But it is the candlelight that has always intrigued me. Candlelight is different from actual light; dimmer, yet still able to dispel the darkness. Even a small amount of light pushes the darkness away.
As the world turns further toward the darkness, even the smallest of light can draw others toward it. We may not be able to influence the world, but we can be of some influence to the smaller world around us. We can choose to stand up for things that are right even when we are mocked. We can live good lives, follow laws, and share goodness. We can be candlelight.
We can also teach our children to be be candles to the world. As parents, we are split between letting our children go out and share their light, and wanting to protect them from the evils all around them. We build their light while they remain safe in our homes and presence. We hope they are strong enough to keep their lights burning as they go about school and work and life.
Felix Adler once wrote, “The hero is the one who kindles a great light in the world, who sets up blazing torches in the dark streets of life for men to see by. The saint is the man who walks through the dark paths of the world, himself a light.”
Be the light.