January 18, 2015
Lidgerwood Presbyterian Church
“The Mission of the Savior”
We so deeply need the love of our heavenly Father, dear God. Fill us with faith and faithfulness. Conquer our fears and heal our hurts. Comfort us with Your Holy Spirit, that we might recognize Your light in our darkness. Amen.
Wow, is it good to be back home! For those of you on FaceBook, I have posted pics and told stories of my trip to Alaska; for the rest of us, maybe in February we’ll plan a day to share my stories and photos. But, just to get the stories started, what I may be most glad for in coming back to Spokane is … flush toilets!
Anyway, I offer huge THANKS to Kathy Samuel and Gene Peden for leading our worship experiences. And Kathy Sandusky for preaching and offering Communion. And I trust Zach Merkling and Bruce Sexton blessed you with God’s Word, too.
Today is the third Sunday in the Season of Epiphany! January 6, is Epiphany. At Christmas, we celebrate the coming of light in the birth of Jesus. On Epiphany, in the Western Church we celebrate the manifestation of Christ’s light to all the world, as represented by the Gentile Magi from the East that visit the Christ Child.
The Greek word from which we get the word “Epiphany” is the verb phainein (“to show forth, to manifest, to bring to light, to cause to appear”). It is a sudden revelation or discovery (“I had an epiphany today!”), those moments when we say we “saw the light” – a “lightbulb moment!”.
In addition to being a Feast Day in the Church, Epiphany is a season in the life of the Church, continuing through Transfiguration Sunday (February 15, 2015), the Sunday before the season of Lent begins. Throughout this season of Epiphany, I have spent some time in prayer and reflecting on two questions:
* Where or when has Jesus shown Himself to me today?
* Where or when did Jesus give me the opportunity to show forth His light today?
In his translation of II Corinthians 4:5-6 in The Message, Eugene Peterson captures beautifully the manifestation of Jesus’ light and what that manifestation means for us today: “Remember, our Message is not about ourselves; we’re proclaiming Jesus Christ, the Master. All we are is messengers, errand runners from Jesus for you. It started when God said, ‘Light up the darkness!’ and our lives filled up with light as we saw and understood God in the face of Christ, all bright and beautiful.”
We experience great light in the truth that God did, and does, show up. Jesus did come. For us and for our salvation. This truth changes everything.
Hear the Word of God from the New Testament Gospel according to John 1:1-14 …. —-
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome[a] it.
6 There was a man sent from God whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.
9 The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
May God bless the reading, the hearing, the receiving of His Word which never fails.
At this point, let me assure you that I realize that the Seahawks play at noon today – and I promise to forgive anyone who feels the need to leave before we’re done, if it seems I am taking too long. But I also promise to properly proclaim the Word of God … in a timely manner.
Take another look at verses 9-11: This totally emphasizes that, no matter how much darkness we encounter – in Shishmaref, AK, the sky started to lighten at about 10:45 and the sun broke the horizon at about 12:00noon; and then it disappeared at about 3:00pm and the sky was dark by 5 – physical darkness which allowed me to actually feel the emotional darkness that so many feel every day of their lives – no matter how much darkness we encounter, Jesus is the True Light, that enlightens everyone!
Jesus really is the Light of the World!
This is key! The Light of Christ is for everyone – for God so loved the whole world He gave His only begotten Son!
Remember those two questions I have been asking myself – and which I encourage you to ask yourself every day – 1) Where or when has Jesus shown Himself to me today?
2) Where or when did Jesus give me the opportunity to show forth His light today?
It is true that not everyone will receive the Light of Christ – just think about how the truth that Jesus is the Light for Everyone effects our witness of Jesus Christ to everyone we encounter every day!
In his book called The Weight of Glory, C.S. Lewis wrote: “It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you say it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree helping each other to one or the other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all of our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations – these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit – immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.”
We have an influence on the world around us!
When we consider this passage from John 1 and the fact that Jesus came for all, as well as the C.S. Lewis quote, how might our interaction with others today and this week be different?
WHO is God bringing to your heart and mind today that is in need of the light?
How might you pray for them?
How might you love them well?
Lewis, C.S.; The Weight of Glory, and Other Addresses; MacMillan Pub. Co.; NY,NY; 1980 (originally 1949); Pp. 18-19.