“I am the light of the world, says the Lord;
whoever follows me will have the light of life.” John 8:12
When I lived in a refugee camp, I never imagined that one day I would live a better life. In the camp, death became normal. Funerals were like birthday parties. Mourning was a way of comforting oneself and suffering became a way of life. But I was grateful for this suffering because at least I was not dead yet.
What I have just explained is a life lived in the darkness called a “refugee camp.” No one likes to be in the darkness such as this. I know for a fact that I and other thousands of refugees did not choose to be in that refugee camp. But there is nothing we could have done. This refugee camp is where we found safety and a home. It was our light of life at that given moment of our lives.
As Christ says, “whoever follows me will have the light of life.” You notice that “following” is a form of action needed to have this light of life. In our current context, I offer another interpretation of “light of life” as gifts that Christ has given us, which we can take action to communally share with others so that they may see light. This light of life can be giving your time to serve meals at a soup kitchen, it can be an intentional prayer for the vulnerable, or simply preparing a meal for a new refugee family that has just arrived in America. But for these gifts to serve as a light of life for others, you must activate them.
As a former refugee myself, I understand what it means to live in the darkness filled with hopelessness and suffering. I also understand what it means to come out of that darkness and see light. And it’s a good feeling. There are many people who showed me the light of life through their time and acts of kindness. I won’t forget. Today, I want to encourage you to activate your gifts and intentionally use them as the light of life so that others may experience hope, peace, and the love of Christ.