Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of July 26, 2004
Transcending from darkness to light
Theology on Tap is coming back. Seized by excitement, I recalled my experience of studying theology when I saw the ads for this summer event sponsored by Edmonton's Young Adult Ministry.
I turned a page in my life when I passed comprehensive exams for master of divinity at Newman College. Candidates for graduation are required to write a thematic synthesis of Christian theology. I chose From Darkness Into Light.
Like some, I am at the same time afraid and amazed by darkness. On one hand, I am afraid of it because darkness is impregnated with different streams of the unknown. On the other hand, I am amazed by the fact it teems with mysteries that trigger imagination, creativity.
Darkness in itself is meaningless. It exists in relation to light. Our notion and experience of what darkness is relates to our notion and experience of what light is like. They are inseparable.
These twin realities represent not only what is physical but also what is spiritual, symbolic, metaphysical, philosophical and theological.
Darkness represents chaos, suffering, defeat and death. Light on the contrary symbolizes clarity, knowledge, wisdom, triumph, resurrection, life and much more.
Studying theology itself can be described as a journey from darkness into light: from the phase of not knowing to a state of grasping.
Streams of darkness and light are interspersed in different disciplines of theology. In understanding anthropological realities, we underline the truth that as human beings, we are created in the image and likeness of God.
But in spite of that, sin entered into the history of humanity. Though sin somehow clouded our being created in God's image and likeness, God gave us grace to counteract the effects of sin.
Humanity embraced the darkness of sin, which consequently meant embracing the darkness of death. However, this did not deter God from sending his only son, Jesus Christ, who embraced the cross and died on it in order to redeem humanity. Jesus' dying on the cross at first glance can be viewed as a moment of darkness but beneath this darkness lies a more powerful moment of light because the cross of Christ is a saving cross.
If one is to pinpoint one particular area of theology permeated with streams of darkness and light that would be the Church history.
Yes, there were times when the people working for the Church made the Church look like bad news. But streams of light of holiness are identifiable within Church history. These are moments of grace and blessedness. We have a host of saints whose lives and witnessing not only made a difference during their epochs, but still affect our lives today.
The challenge of being a Christian today is the challenge of being the light in a darkening world. And what better way to be the light but studying about our faith and living the Gospel. I believe this is what Theology on Tap wants to achieve.
Our hopes and yearnings will only be fulfilled in our future life with God as we end our journey on this earth leading to our heavenly home.
Only then can we experience the light that knows no darkness, a light so dazzling that it appears as a darkness blinding our intellect when it is really God's light illuminating our heart.
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