Be What You Already Are
If you have had any contact with the high school students of LUMC and heard them share about what goes on in the youth group, you may have picked up the word ‘Gargon’. It’s a weird word. It’s like ‘Mormon’ but more pirate-y. If the word sounds a bit spooky, it should. A Gargon is a monster that lives in darkness devouring all who fall into its grip. Well okay, a Gargon is a teenager who chases other teenagers in the dark trying to tag them so they freeze in place. It’s a game. It’s fun.
The object of Gargon is for players to find the missing pieces of a flashlight that have been hidden in the play area, a building of some kind. They have to find them in the dark, without being tagged by the lurking Gargon. Once they find all three pieces and construct the flashlight the tables turn! Now it is the Gargon who is on the run, evading the Gargon-slaying beam of light put out by the now functioning flashlight. It’s a game. It’s fun.
I inherited this game from the days of Mike’s tenure as the youth guy and I love it because the students love it. You might say Gargon is a pillar of the youth group around here. Gargon is also a great picture of what Jesus has done, does, and is doing through his life, his Spirit, and his people. Let me explain.
The object of Gargon in the simplest terms is to shine a light in the darkness. In so doing, the thing which seeks after our destruction, namely, the Gargon, is vanquished. We read in John 1:5 that “the light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not overcome it.” We learn that Jesus is the light and it is the world which attempts to overcome him through violence, fear, and ultimately death. “But take heart!”, Jesus tells us, “for I have overcome the world.” Of course, this is most obvious at Easter, when we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection and victory over the powers of darkness.
I’ve started to talk to our students before every game of Gargon about this very thing. I’ll say that we don’t need anyone to prove to us that there is darkness at work in the world. Sometimes it looks like terrible crimes and sometimes it feels like a terrible anxiety or depression. It’s easy to see in the world around and if we take a minute to get vulnerable and honest, its not that hard to find it in ourselves. Darkness is out there and its in here, but it doesn’t have the final word. Just like our game of Gargon, in our lives and in our world, we get to go to work chasing out the darkness. After I share this I pray with the students and we get all riled up and tell the darkness we’re gonna get it. It’s fun.
That last part is the one that may catch us off guard. We chase out the darkness? We go to work? Isn’t it God? Yes. And yes. And Yes! In the Sermon on the Mount, which is a pretty good sermon if I do say so myself, Jesus says something that might surprise you. He says, “You are the light of the world.” It’s in Matthew 5:14. Well hang on! Isn’t Jesus the light of the world? Well yeah but I guess Jesus thinks you are too! And me! That’s a big deal! That’s pretty optimistic I’d say! That’s too hot for TV!
That’s quite a lot to take right now. This is my first time putting it to paper and its just got me amped up!
“You are the light of the world.” You just are. It doesn’t be the light of the world. It’s not you could be the light of the world. You just…are. He doesn’t even say through me you are… or because of me you are… or my light in you is…
Now! Stop and breathe if you need to because I am not suggesting some kind of vision of altruistic humanism where we’re all just lights all the time. Like I said above, we are all capable of perpetuating darkness in this world and we’re all aware that we have the capacity for darkness.
But ask God, “How can I be a light right now?”
As news of our current COVID-19 world continues to pour in, we’re learning about needs all around us. Is there somewhere you can help? Sewing masks? Cooking meals? Sending cards? All of the above?
Have you checked in with neighbours? Called your grandma? Or picked up some extra chores at home?
Are you gentle with the folks in your house? Are you conscientious of the grocery store clerk?
Can you help a sibling through some tough emotions? Can you help someone you know through a financial challenge?
Are you a light bearer right now?
This is not a checklist of how to be a good person. But we know when we’ve encountered someone who brings light into their circumstances. We know when someone has blessed us. This is just an invitation to take part in making the world brighter right now. It’s not even that hard. So today, and every other day, as Jesus said, “let your light so shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to God.” Go be light! It’s fun!