Michelangelo may have had a different meaning in mind when he penned the words, "Death and love are the two wings that bear the good man to heaven," but I believe these two things do indeed create the pathway for our entrance into the heavens. It was the death of Christ and the insane love of God that created the pathway we follow into heaven. Nothing short of these two, nor any other path has the potential of creating the same degree of peace, harmony, or path to change in a person's life. It was God's love that set out the course of the path and it was Christ who walked it faithfully on our behalf!
God is light, and in him there is no darkness. 6 So if we say that we share in life with God, but we continue living in darkness, we are liars, who don’t follow the truth. 7 We should live in the light, where God is. If we live in the light, we have fellowship with each other, and the blood sacrifice of Jesus, God’s Son, washes away every sin and makes us clean. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we are fooling ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 But if we confess our sins, God will forgive us. We can trust God to do this. He always does what is right. He will make us clean from all the wrong things we have done. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we are saying that God is a liar and that we don’t accept his true teaching. (I John 1:5-10 ERV)
We share in this life with God, not through any of our own efforts, but because Christ walked that pathway of death on our behalf. We may experience physical death at some point in our lives (in fact, it is statistically pretty close to 100% who can count on this one). That physical death doesn't have to be the end for us, though. It can be the magnificent entrance into the dwelling place of the divine if we have allowed the love of God and the sacrifice of Christ to speak eternal life into us. Death may seem like a "dark path" for some of us because we don't understand death's sting has been taken away through the sacrificial love and obedience of Christ. It isn't something to dread, but something to embrace as it approaches, for we know that path leads directly into the presence of the heavenlies.
Notice our passage today - it speaks of "sharing" in life with God. This is only possible because God makes that pathway "open" to each of us. He has provided the means by which we travel this path and it is one that moves us from a plaguing place of darkness into a permanent place of light and peace. It is this pathway we consider this morning, for as John so aptly reminds us - it is all about the light we experience and the dissipation of the darkness which "true light" produces. The point of light we follow isn't a "broad" light, like that of a lighthouse. It is the pinpoint accurate light of a "laser". We are focused on one thing - eternity. We are determined to live by one thing - trust. We are committed to one thing - truth. We are motivated by one thing - love. The path of light we follow isn't "broad spectrum", but radiant focus!
Along this path, we discover the wretchedness of our inner condition. We come face-to-face with the reality of the darkness that dwells within - the places where light has yet to reach and where light so desperately needs to make discovery. We open up to the possibilities of healing only when we understand we are sick and in need of that healing! Sometimes we think death to something means there will never be any life again - but the exact opposite is the truth. The death to one thing (that thing we have held onto so fervently) can open the path to the possibilities of something much greater once we let it go. Sin may not seem like much until there is the evidence of light - the presence of God's permeating love and his tender mercies that seek it out. Light isn't going to heal us, but his love will. Light merely opens us up to the point of realizing we need health in our lives - we need life anew. Just sayin!