Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life." Then the Pharisees said to him, "You are testifying on your own behalf; your testimony is not valid." Jesus answered, "Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid because I know where I have come from and where I am going, but you do not know where I come from or where I am going. You judge by human standards; I judge no one. Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is valid; for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent me. In your law it is written that the testimony of two witnesses is valid. I testify on my own behalf, and the Father who sent me testifies on my behalf." Then they said to him, "Where is your Father?" Jesus answered, "You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also." He spoke these words while he was teaching in the treasury of the temple, but no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come.
It has been wonderful to be back in Sitka in the sunshine. Before we left to go east to visit our children, we had experienced weeks of dark and cloudy weather. It was warm for Christmas and New Years but it had rained constantly. In the winter we treasure the light, the sunshine, and make the most of the days that are dry. Some places experience low church attendance in bad weather. Here it is just the opposite. In sunny, good weather everybody has something to do outside. We delight and cherish in the light, especially in the depths of winter.
Jesus was still in a very public place. The religious leaders were after him constantly, trying to find just cause to arrest him. Instead of hiding or walking away, he kept offering the people around him the gifts of God. He offers them light and love, a close relationship with God. He offers them the possibility of a life without fear, a life lived without fear of judgment. The crowd understand right away, as they have witnessed his rescue of a woman about to be stoned. We can see his compassion and forgiveness as they could. We are invited to draw close, to set aide judgment and walk in the light of God's love.
Today I ask God to help me walk in the light. May our vision not be clouded by fear, judgment or scarcity, but may we rise up and turn to the light of life. May we live without fear this day, trusting that God who loves us more than we can understand, is acting for us always and bringing light and love to the darkest and most broken places today.