At a recent Lenten study, I asked the group, “We know that through grace and love Christ has given us forgiveness and salvation, but what does that really mean to us, what does that really give us? One man looked at me intently and put his hand over his heart and said, “peace”. He is so very right! Those of us who know what the gift of Christ really is, have peace in our hearts. We try our best to live good lives but we are human and prone to sin. We know that God our Father loves us beyond measure and wants us with Him but with our sinful natures, we are not fit to be in his presence. So God, became man in the form of Christ and came to our world to walk among us, to teach us and to, with the sacrifice of His life, save us! We know that His blood has cleansed us of our sin and so we are now fit to stand before God one day. Knowing that when we go from this life to the next, we will be in the loving arms of God, gives us peace!
Adam Hamilton’s study on John talks a lot about Christ being the light of the world. If Christ is the light, then sin and evil is dark and this world is very dark indeed. Recent events in Kalamazoo reminds me of how dark this world is. Six people dead, two wounded. No reason, no provocation. Random acts of EVIL! How dark Kalamazoo got that night! And in response, those of us who know and carry the ‘light’ have come together to shine the ‘light’. Churches have opened their doors for special services, prayers were lifted up across the nation, the family and friends of the victims and the gunman are being lifted up in prayer and love. That’s a God thing and it warms my heart. But………….
Why do we have to wait for something like this to happen before we see the darkness that we live in? Why do we ‘hide our light under a bushel’ the rest of the time? What are we afraid of? What else could possibly be more important that sharing the love and PEACE of Christ?
As we complete our Lenten journey, may I ask you to search your hearts and your lives and think about where you shine? Or where you should shine but don’t? I don’t want you to do this in a negative or accusatory way; I want you to see where you have missed opportunities so that you won’t miss them again! I want you to realize how dark the world is around you. The world NEEDS your light!
A favorite part of our Christmas Eve service has always been the “passing of the light”. We usually do this at the very end of the service, after we have talked about and quietly celebrated the new baby coming into the world. After the sanctuary is darkened, I take a light from the Christ candle and bring it down to the congregation who have formed a circle. Then, as we sing ‘Silent Night’, we pass the light to each other until the whole circle is lit. The symbolism is that Christ-the-light was born to a dark world of sin and that as we come to Him, we too have His light and that if we pass it around to our neighbors and friends, we can cut the darkness and light the world.
Folks, the darkness of our sinful world is threatening to overtake us! It is time for us to stoke our flames and get about the business of passing the light! May the Peace of Christ be with you all as you proceed to set our world on fire!!!!!