Children of the Light

Scripture Text: Ephesians 5: 8-14

8For once you were darkness, but now in the Lord you are light. Live as children of light— 9for the fruit of the light is found in all that is good and right and true. 10Try to find out what is pleasing to the Lord. 11Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12For it is shameful even to mention what such people do secretly; 13but everything exposed by the light becomes visible, 14for everything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Sleeper, awake! Rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”

We all want this—to live as children of the light.  We want to be in the light, to have the light shine on us and on our lives.  It is comforting.  It is warm and inviting.  The notion of being in the light means that we can see where we are and know where we are going.  And, yet, that implies that the darkness is bad or, at the very least, less desirable than the light.

Most agree that the Letter to the Ephesians was not written by Paul, but rather pseudonymously by one of his students.  This passage seems to contain an insistence that there should remain a separation between “children of light” and others.   There’s a dualism that seldom ends in good results and can often become dangerous in this world.  I mean, what if being a child of the light is not about WHERE you are but rather in how you see?  What if being a child of the light is not about walking IN the light but rather becoming that light?

Our world and our churches are, sadly, filled with, well, just bad evangelism.  You hear a calling for persons to leave the world behind, to live in some sort of religious bubble of God’s Light.  I don’t think that’s what we’re meant to do.  I mean, really, what good does that do the world?  We are in the world.  We are of the world.  And God created this glorious world and filled it with beauty and life and order and, yes, us.  But there is often darkness in this world.  But darkness is not a place where God is not.  Darkness is a place where God is not known or felt, where that sense of God is somehow obstructed from our souls, where perhaps faith has faltered for some reason.  We all have those moments.  We know that feeling.  But there is Light on the horizon, always Light on the horizon.  And we are called to become Children of the Light.  We are called to reflect God’s Light into the darkness.  We are called to be Children of the Light, bearing witness to the “Light that shines in the darkness”.  Go and be Light.

We have become so accustomed to the idea of divine love and of God’s coming at Christmas that we no longer feel the shiver of fear that God’s coming should arouse in us.  We are indifferent to the message, taking only the pleasant and agreeable out of it and forgetting the serious aspect, that the God of the world draws near to the people of our little earth and lays claim to us.  The coming of God is truly not only glad tidings, but first of all frightening news for everyone who has a conscience.  (Dietrich Bonhoeffer) 

Grace and Peace,


The Light-Gatherers

Scripture Text: Luke 3: 1-6 (Advent 2C)

In the fifteenth year of the reign of Emperor Tiberius, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was ruler of Galilee, and his brother Philip ruler of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias ruler of Abilene, 2during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. 3He went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, 4as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah, “The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. 5Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth; 6and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’”

Well, we know it’s Advent when John the Baptist shows up again!  Most of us don’t really know what to do with John.  After all, he was actually a little bizarre.  John was this wild wilderness man who wore animal skins and made his meals off of locusts and honey and whatever else he could find in the wild.  He was actually a little radical, preaching what could probably be considered hellfire and brimstone sermons to convince people of his message.  OK, maybe John’s “bedside manner” had a little to be desired.  Yes, John was the one who never quite conformed to the way of this world, to acceptable society, but rather chose to focus solely on what it was God was calling him to do.

John never claimed to be more than he was.  His only mission was to point to the one who was coming, the One that would BE God in our midst, the One that would baptize us with water and the very Spirit of God.  So, though his preaching was often fiery and overly-zealous and maybe even a little off-putting, John was a Light-Gatherer.  Light-Gatherers do more than just look for the Light.  They do more than follow the Light.  Light-Gatherers walk into the Light, gather it in, and reflect it off of themselves.  Jesus taught that his disciples and his followers were called to be a Light to the world.  That is what John did.  He was a Light-Gatherer.

Creation is full of light-gatherers.  You remember photosynthesis, don’t you?  It’s the process by which plants take in light and transform it into energy and growth.  That’s probably a really good lesson for us.  We, too, are called to be Light-Gatherers, to take in the Light and transform it into energy and growth for ourselves and for the world.  Then we are called to reflect that Light, the Light of God, into the world.  We are called to be a beacon, a Light-Gatherer of the Light of God.  So, in this season of Advent, go toward the Light but don’t stop there.  Gather the Light and reflect that Light to the world.  Be a Light-Gatherer.

Sometimes our light goes out, but is blown again into instant flame by an encounter with another human being.  Each of us owes the deepest thanks to those who have rekindled this inner light. (Albert Schweitzer) 

Grace and Peace,