Darkness: Not understood

“The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it” John 1:5 (NIV)

One of the fascinating aspects of studying a holy text written in different ancient languages is that we get lots of translations. Take John 1:5.

  • A light shines in the darkness and the darkness shall never extinguish it (NLT)
  • A light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it (ESV)
  • The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it (NIV)

The NIV resonates most deeply for me, though they all hold truth. There is only one true light–the light of Christ. Wherever Christ is present, even the darkest of darkness is confused. Christ is victorious over seemingly impenetrable darkness.

There is a church near Lima, Peru, called San Juan Camino de Esperanza. It’s shielded from the street by a large metal gate. Inside the gate, there are two rooms. Neither have doors. A packed dirt courtyard separates them. Electric light is limited. This church does not have a pastor.

In so many ways, there is darkness in San Juan (photos).

Yet in San Juan, darkness is not understood. The gate proudly bears the emblem of the Luther rose, proclaiming joy, faith, and hope to all who pass. Within the gates, there are children and adults who clearly love them. There is singing, praising, praying, playing, coloring, teaching, learning, eating and feeding and loving and living. This church is sustained by passionate, energetic volunteers. Here students and neighbors are fed in mind, body, and spirit. Here all are welcomed. Here the gospel is alive.

The name San Juan Camino de Esperanza signifies St. John way of hope and inspiration. The darkness cannot understand it (photos), nor can it ever extinguish this light. Thanks be to God.

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