Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
The Word of God for our meditiaion this morning is the Epsitle Lesson, from Ephesians chapter 5:
For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (Ephesians 5:8 ESV)
Let us all pray:
“Love caused Your incarnation; Love brought you down to me. Your thirst for my salvation Procured my liberty. Oh, love beyond all telling, That led you to embrace In love, all love excelling, Our lost and fallen race.” (O Lord, How shall I Meet You? Lutheran Service Book 334)
Dear fellow Pilgrims journeying to the Paschal Feast:
I don’t know if you have visited anyof the web sites on the internet that show a satellite view of the earth below at night. It is rather fascinating to see where the great cities lie and where people live –just by their light. The ocean coasts are outlined distinctly with millions of dots of light. Places like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston can easily be found –as well as many other great cities of the world.
It has also been pointed out that there is a dramatic difference between the developed nations and the third world. Botswana, in southern Africa, has very little light. My missionary friend Daniel tells me about being able to see other parts of our galaxy at night, as they gazed up into the sky at the Milky Way.
From a light and dark perspective, the contrast is strong between capitalist South Korea and communist North Korea. North Korea is eerily in perpetual darkness.
The light and darkness picked up by a satellite’s complex camera is not the same as the light and darkness spoken of in our text. We know that that light is the light of Christ that comes from within us, that shines on sin and reflects God’s love. Yet we do not always appear as children of light: reflecting Christ’s light: showing Christ’s light.
Maybe our sins too often get in the way. Perhaps we think we are not qualified to reflect Christ’s light. “Not so!” says the Apostle Paul. We are all children of light and as such we are sent by Christ to shine to those who remain in darkness! Our text begins:
For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. (Eph. 5:8-10)
When I was a pastor in Southern Indiana I had a member who stilled lived with out light. He and his brother and two sister had never married and while on their farm they did not have electricity or running water. The first Sunday I visited before my installation as pastor I happened to sit next to him. He told me after the service: “you’re the new pastor!” I asked how he knew. He said, “You’re the only one here I don’t know.”
At the time I became George’s pastor he was 94. Once in a while George would mix his German and English.
George lived alone in town and after a while he couldn’t make it to church. I went to see him late one afternoon and as the day went on it was getting darker and darker in the house. There was an old –what they called an “Aladdin” lamp–the oil kind–on the parlor table. I wondered when he would light it.
With that George jumped up and said, “Pastor it’s getting dark! Let me make some hell!” Good thing I knew enough German to know that the German word for light is hell!
But isn’t it that way with us so often? As God’s children we are no longer children of darkness. We are not hell bound – but heaven bound. We’re not to “raise Cain” as my mother used to call it. Yet we often times act that way. We let our old nature get the best of us and we forget who we are! The Christian we expected makes a little hell! And sometimes a lot!
The Apostle Paul warns us,
Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. (Eph. 5: 11–12)
Now those of you born and raised here at Frankentrost; who were batized, confirmed and lived here all your lives; you might protest and say, “we never were children of darkness” –but the evidence speaks against us. If we search our hearts there are things that come from us that at times even surprise ourselves. Jesus says,
For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. (Matthew 15:19)
If you trace back our ancestors back far enough and where they came from, you will find a time when they did not know of the love of Christ and were people of dark deeds.
I’ve said to my boys that on my mother’s side they have Iroquois Indian in them. –just a drop: but it’s enough. Greater and more potent however, are the drops of Jesus blood that He shed for us to make us His people. The Apostle John expresses the same thought as our text when he says,
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:7)
Since coming to Michigan over seven years ago, I have tried to find some interests unique to this part of the country. I have become fascinated with lighthouses and have visited several. I’ve even been on a boat tour in the Mackinac Straights (some friends took us a couple of summers ago) and have seen lighthouses that are almost inaccessible otherwise. Lighthouses are a significant feature on the great lakes. More than tourist attractions: they shine out and save lives.
This has led to me collecting miniature light houses and with any collectible, there are all kinds in all price ranges. I have a few rules for my collection: 1. I must have seen the lighthouse, 2. I want an authentic reproduction, and 3. No one disturbs Dad’s lighthouses.
I have only one lighthouse that lights up. It is of the lighthouse at White Fish Point. When the boys and I are in the man-cave and it is dark we light it up and its powerful LED bulb flashes. Compared to the others, it is the real lighthouse –the others do us and all our imaginary ships at sea no good not shining in the dark.
Paul concludes in our text,
But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” (Eph. 5:13–14)
We are made visible to all by Christ who has redeemed us on the cross. The light of the love of God has shown on each of us and we have the light in our Baptism which has awakened us from the dead of our sins. Having been thus lulled from our sleep we are to go as God’s people and share the light of His grace. We do so when we live lives in keeping with His Word. We do so when we forgive and help each other. We do so when we extend the ministry of His Word by supporting it. Otherwise we’re just lighthouse statues with no lights!
May God continue to keep us in the light of His grace, that we may continue to walk in His light –showing others the light of Jesus. Amen.