I love snapping pictures, even more so in recent years as the fleeting nature of life's moments has been made more apparent to me.  In looking back at my heaps of digital shots, it's funny that one of the images I always gravitate toward shooting is that of light breaking through darkness, whether on a beach or in a darkened bedroom.  Perhaps my draw to this type of image runs much deeper than just its pleasing aesthetic...

This third week of Lent, the topic is: "I am the Light of the World...Jesus as Hope".

"Again Jesus spoke to them saying, 'I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life' " -- John 8:12

{early morning fishing on Lake Malawi in Malawi, Africa -- 2006}

The 9th chapter of John, following this proclamation of Jesus, mirrors the images and metaphors of light and darkness, life and death, as Jesus heals a blind man.  I can certainly say that I view disability and accessibility in a whole different way since those were made very personal to me almost 4 years ago.  As challenging as it can be maneuvering in this world that was not made for those who have physical limitations, I cannot fathom trying to exist with disabilities of any kind in an ancient world.

{Casa Colina, Pomona, CA -- 2008}

This man, blind from birth, would not likely have had much to hope for in his life, perhaps his most constant hope was for death.  Likely, he was solely dependent on his family to survive, perhaps begging for charity as well, and surely, the experience of blindness in that time created other maladies for him, whether physical, emotional, or mental.  Inability to work and provide, not to mention a social norm that viewed disability as a consequence of sin, likely ostracized this man from relationships of every kind, most certainly robbing him of the joy of his own marriage and family.  Needless to say, the darkness this man experienced went far deeper than just the absence of light in his eyes.

{story time with Mommy, Culver City, CA -- 2011}

Jesus teaches his disciples--who were themselves gravely misinformed about the purpose of brokenness and suffering on earth--by explaining that "this man was born blind so that God's works might be revealed in him" (John 9:3).  A microcosm of Jesus' fully human/fully God state, He combines his heavenly saliva with very earthly dirt to make the sight-giving mud, then commands the man to go wash it off.  What authoritative hope Jesus must have imbued for this blind man to stumble toward the pool of Siloam, face shamefully dripping dirty spit but with an expectantly giddy smile nevertheless?!

{Santa Monica Beach, CA -- 2012}

Jesus saw this man in his hopelessness and overwhelming darkness and gave him new life through light.  That is the power of light for us--it breaks through even the most ominous clouds and the darkest nights.  These images are beautiful to me because they capture my moments, but perhaps even more so because they carry with them the innate truth that light brings life and the presence of life always gives hope.

"In him was life, and the life was the light of men.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." -- John 1:4-5