I often am nourished by the reflections of Kayla McClurg on scripture readings, and her commentary on today’s Gospel from John was no exception.
On this third Sunday of Advent, we hear John’s account of the testimony of John the Baptist, who “was not the light, but came to testify to the light.”
We are told that John himself was not the light . . . BUT — notice the compound sentence, each part having equal weight — BUT “he came to testify to the light.” Lest we be tempted to make our permanent home in who we are not, in the small cramped space of low expectations and limited responsibility, the second half of the sentence clarifies the first. It calls me out from the shadows and gives me my own significant part to play. I am not the light, but I am called to testify to the light. To testify is to tell my truth, the whole truth, to be held accountable for what I know and see. I am a witness to the light. I have watched it shine in my very own darkness.
As we reflect on John the Baptist, who for me is one of the great Advent figures, we need to remember that we are called to do exactly as John did. Not, in McClurg’s words “by trying to be light, not by trying to create an illusion of light”, but by “tell[ing] my truth, the whole truth,” by being a witness to the light.