There is the line about "speaking truth to power" which is intended to convey the moral obligation all citizens have to keep their governments and rulers accountable.
When I talk about "speaking light into darkness" I am intending to convey the great need for our entire world of having people who will do that 24/7 - from homes and schools and the workplace, to church and corporations and the gatherings of nations.
Words of light penetrating the sentences of darkness.
We all know how to complain with others and we've all done it.
We all know how to wallow in our own bitterness and we've all done that too.
We all know how to feed or even exacerbate others' times of bleakness and despair and, may God forgive us, many of us have done that as well.
I am talking about doing the opposite.
It is a variation, I suppose, on the phrase - "Better to light a candle than curse the darkness."
I am not talking about ignoring the reality of our suffering or the suffering of others. I am not talking about being unsympathetic nor am I encouraging anyone to avoid empathy.
I am saying that to speak light into darkness is better than speaking more darkness into darkness.
And I do not mean voicing empty platitudes or cliches or "cheer up, dear" sentiments.
Light is strong. You know how strong when you try to look into the sun. Or try to gaze at a field of pure white snow on a bright winter's day.
Or spend time with Jesus Christ.
Light pierces darkness. It vanquishes it. Dispels it. Changes a dark room into one with a light, no matter how small that light may be.
If instead of going down into the pit with others and remaining there, cursing God and our bad fortune - if instead, I say, we take a light that allows us to show the person in the pit the handholds and footholds that permit them to get out - then we will have created, in that moment, a new world and, ultimately, a new person. That new person may not only be the one we are trying to help. It may be us.
What a difference to speak hope when others cry out in despair. What a difference to speak love when others are burning up with hate. What a difference to speak light when we ourselves, and others around us, are wrapped in blackness and defeat.
When I think of doing this - laboring to speak light into terrible situations when the easier thing is just to collapse and mouth words of darkness and intensify the sensation of depression, defeat, and despair - it is impossible for me not to think of Christ, the Light of the World.
When I speak light into darkness, I am speaking Christ into darkness. And the darkness has never been able to master him, understand him, or put him out.
Even the darkness, Psalm 139 tells us, is light to God.
To speak light into darkness is to speak Christ into darkness and to speak Christ into darkness is to illuminate the world.
What a difference it makes if we do this instead of adding to the bleakness with our silence, our own bitter words, or our lack of prayer.
May 2011 be a year for you not only to speak light into your darkness and the darkness of others, but also a year of turning darkness into light. Making darkness the material out of which a brighter light burns.
May it be so.