Song: “If You’re Out There” by John Legend
Poem: “Alone” by Maya Angelou
Scripture: Matthew 4:1-11
“Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor; and he said to him, ‘All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.’” (vv. 8-9)
When we think of the dark, the assumption is that someone turned off the light or that day transitioned to night. But there’s another rationale to darkness that resides in symbolism. It represents the evils of this world. It lurks with all the lights on and at the dawning of a new day, as the sun arises, we can only hope to pray the dark away. Broken promises of yesterday endorse the darkness of today. This darkness doesn’t flee at the flip of a switch; nor does it run at the rising of the sun. It clings to the broken and alone; it writes the poems of their hearts and sings the songs of their souls. Darkness is a friend to the hopeless, when no one can be found; it stays advertently close and lingers around.
In Matthew 4:1-11 we find Jesus being led by the Holy Spirit to face darkness. In the dry and barren wilderness, also known as the most unfruitful place on the earth, Jesus there to bear fruit or be devoured by the lack thereof. He’s greeted by Satan and offered the pleasures of the world in exchange for darkness but Jesus declines with his response of light.
The same darkness then is present today. It wages war on the oppressed; it captivates the distressed. It serves us into the hands of greed takes food off the plates of those in need. This all-consuming capacity building darkness is too great to fight alone. Even Jesus didn’t face this darkness on His own.
In this passage Jesus teaches us how to use darkness as the sounding board to light and He did it under the power of the Holy Spirit. He teaches us that there is power when we bind together in the Spirit.
Darkness has a smothering capability; it layers on thick and wipes out everything around it but if we bind together with the Spirit, the ultimate light, its piercing power illuminates victory over darkness making it within our reach! After facing Darkness, Jesus’ ministry spread throughout the world in which He joined others to heal the sick, right wrongs, bring equity to the lives of the oppressed and to overpower darkness with light.
What’s your response to darkness around you? Will you allow it to consume you and others or will you find beauty in your ability to navigate the darkness through the power and light of the Holy Spirit?
Minister Melissa Champs is from Chicago’s Westside. She spent her young adult life active in both ministry and working in a secular context but in both, she served others. She was born and raised in the church however she began strengthening her relationship with God in her 20s. Her desire for more lead her to seminary in 2014 where she made her biblical explorative journey at Northern Baptist Theological Seminary. There, God used the experiences had and people she engaged with, to change the trajectory of her life.
Minister Champs has a combined 15-years of experience in Career/Education Placement and Hired Ed Administration and currently works for City Colleges of Chicago as the Director of Recruitment for the District. She holds a BA in Psychology/Writing, a MA in Industrial Organizational Psychology and a M.Div. in Biblical Studies and Theology. Her seminary journey has afforded her a few rare opportunities. She has studied abroad at Jerusalem University College in Israel, earning certificates in the historical and geographical settings of the Bible and in a study of Jesus and His times. Through Biblical exploration, her passion was identified and transformed into purpose. She has served in various capacities in the local church and now serves as a minister at Christ Community Church and an Adjunct Professor at In His Image School of Ministry. She wrote her first publication in September of 2018, “A Community that Affirms”, which she reflects on the importance and power of affirming gifts in others.