Dark and light. Polar opposites, yet we can’t have one without the other.
I remember a picture book that I used to “read” to my kids when they were young: Fast-Slow High-Low, by Peter Spier. It was a book of few words, inviting discussion over the meaning behind its numerous artful drawings.
We often would make-up lively stories about the various opposites portrayed—leading to interesting tales! (I love wordless books for young children. They invite imaginative thinking.) Light and dark were illustrated in an expected way: with a lamp “on” and “off.”
I don’t recall that dark and light were depicted beyond the brightness of bulbs; it would be hard to sketch light and dark as a way to describe life circumstances!
The contrast of light and dark is evident when one does a Rotation on Peter’s view of Easter. (This story is a good one to do post-Easter, as a follow-up to other Easter stories.) It’s about Peter, who was one of Jesus’ disciples, the one Jesus called the “Rock.”
Peter had reason to want to hide in the dark.
Our story starts off in the dark. Well, sort of—it did take place in the evening. There is probably some light as the disciples gathered with Jesus in the Upper Room to share the Passover meal; the one that we call the “Last Supper.”
But there were “dark” moments during that gathering. Like when Jesus tells his disciple Peter that he will soon deny him. Can you imagine Peter’s shock? “Who me?, Peter says, “Never! I am ready to die for you.”
“Really?” (Can you imagine the incredulous tone of voice that Jesus uses?) “Really? You’ll lay down your life for me? The truth is that before the rooster crows, you’ll deny me three times.” John 13:38
Then there is the dark moment in our story when Peter does deny Christ. (John 18:15-18 and 25-27) Let alone the darkness that envelopes Jesus’ followers to see their beloved Jesus hanging on a cross.
But on the third day, morning comes, and with it, light! Great light!
Jesus is alive! He visits his disciples, several times over the next few days.
But how is Peter feeling? Luke’s Gospel has Peter weeping bitterly. (Luke 22:60-62)
We will find out that Jesus forgives Peter (John 21:1-17). But it brings to mind an apply-it-to-our-life question:
What do you do with failure?
Pass it off as I’ll do better next time, or continually beat yourself up?
Thankfully, Jesus offers forgiveness!
First image, from my archives—a photo of the book.
Story images by artist Paula Nash Giltner, from Free Bible Images, licensed under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-ND 4.0). Photos are here and compiled from here, offered by a joint venture of Good News Productions & College Press Publishing Co.
Moments before sunrise by Vincentiu Solomon, released under Unsplash License.