I am the light of the world.
A major teaching goal of A Course in Miracles is to teach us what we are in truth. Here, the course pulls no punches, and straight up tells. We are the light of the world. Indeed, given our Creator, what else could we be?
Critically, this is an interim move in the dance of salvation; it is not the end-game itself.
This is a beginning step in accepting your real function on earth. It is a giant stride toward taking your rightful place in salvation. It is a positive assertion of your right to be saved, and an acknowledgement of the power that is given you to save others (W-pI.61.3:2-4).
The risk in this lesson is that we will process it through the ego, turning it into “self-glorification” (W-pI.61.2:1). Look at me, the light of the world!
But imagine saying it in the same way you would say, “I have blue eyes” or “I’m from Topeka.” Imagine it as a statement of fact that is unremarkable in itself because it merely attests to a incontrovertible fact.
If it helps, you might think of your brothers and sisters and remind yourself that they, too, are the light of the world. This isn’t about you, the way that you tend to think of yourself.
It is the opposite of a statement of pride, of arrogance, or of self-deception. It does not describe the self-concept you have made. It does not refer to any of the characteristics with which you have endowed your idols. It refers to you as you were created by God. it simply states the truth (W-pI.61.1:3-7).
This is important! Lesson 61 is speaking to our true self but recognizing that our investment in ego is still sufficiently strong that we might get confused.
The expectation, then, is not that we will not grasp this lesson’s intention for us perfectly, but rather that we will come to it open-mindedly, willing to deepen our commitment to awakening in truth. “I am the light of the world” is . . .
. . . the perfect answer to all illusions, and therefore to all temptation. It brings all the images you have made about yourself to the truth, and helps you depart in peace, unburdened and certain of your purpose (W-pI.61.4:2-3).
Lesson 61 is a foundation which, when finished, becomes the bridge over which God takes us and all our brothers and sisters home. Critically, it is a collaborative venture, begun with Jesus and sustained in the shared mind of Christ.
In The Gift of Freedom in Chapter 8 of A Course in Miracles the authorial voice adopts the first-person, typically understood as Jesus, and affirms that he is “come as a light into a world that does deny itself everything” (T-8.IV.2:1). He declares that his purpose is to “overcome the world” (T-8.VI.2:8).
I do not attack it, but my light must dispel it because of what it is. Light does not attack darkness, but it does shine it away. If my light goes with you everywhere, you shine it away with me. The light becomes ours, and you cannot abide in darkness any more than darkness can abide wherever you go (T-8.IV.2:9-12).
So the light we are is also the light Jesus is. This is why the course will later remind us that “angels hover lovingly, to keep away all darkened thoughts of sin, and keep the light where it has entered in” (T-26.IX.7:1).
Your footprints lighten up the world, for where you walk forgiveness gladly goes with you. No one on earth but offers thanks to one who has restored his home, and sheltered him from bitter winter and the freezing cold (T-26.IX.7:2-3).
So we are slowly remembering what we are in truth, and as we remember, we become lighter in the world. There is less confusion and conflict, less anger and hate. There is less guilt, less anxiety, less sorrow.
This is the same as saying: there is more peace, joy, love and understanding. And this – this radiance, this beauty, this clarity – becomes the means by which God restores us fully and without condition to the One that has no other.