Walk in the Light
Christ is Risen!
The other day I was having breakfast with a few teenagers, answering questions about life and faith. Our conversation took a turn toward the ‘End Times’ when the neighboring table decided to chime in. We weren’t whispering, so I knew others could hear our conversation. It also isn’t rare for others to interrupt my conversations in public when they hear something spiritual that tweaks their interest. This instance was different.
More than once the person at the table next to us attempted to ‘teach’ the teenagers what “they needed to know” about the end times. As this person was sharing a story about a vision, I finally interrupted because it was no longer sharing an experience. It became teaching wrong theology to the teenagers in my presence. Once I challenged the teaching, the conversation abruptly ended.
The point of my story today is that we will often encounter people who have stories and experiences of God, or at least what they think is of God. In this case, the story included an ‘out of body experience’ in total darkness with visions of hell. The vision ended as abruptly as our conversation when the person invoked the name of God in prayer.
As the person left, I turned to the teenagers, and we continued our conversation. I said, “I’m not sure what the experience this person had, but I have a strong feeling it wasn’t from God.” God is light, and any experience of Him which is in total darkness makes me suspicious. I reminded the teenagers how we Orthodox ‘test visions’ by invoking the name of God.
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life – the life was made manifest, and we saw it, and testify to it, and proclaim to you the eternal life which was with the Father and was made manifest to us – that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you may have fellowship with us; and our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing this that our joy may be complete. This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not live according to the truth; but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.1st John 1:1-7
We must always test visions since even the demons will try to trick us with ‘light tricks’ to convince us we are special and being visited by God. In today’s passage from Saint John, it is quite clear to us. God walks in light, not darkness. If we believe otherwise, we are not living “according to the truth.”